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Maryland Bill Addresses Dangers of Sports-Related Concussions

Posted on: February 6, 2018

Maryland Bill Addresses Dangers of Sports-Related Concussions

Following in the footsteps of three other US states, Maryland lawmakers will soon debate the issue of whether children under a certain age should be allowed to play tackle football. CBS Baltimore affiliate WTOP News covered the topic in a February 5, 2018 report, mentioning that the proposed bill would prohibit:

  • Heading in youth soccer, a move where players use their heads to pass and shoot;
  • Body-checking in lacrosse and hockey; and,
  • Tackle in football games.

However, the ban would be limited to only those sports where competition takes place on public land or involves organizations that use public funds.

Proponents of the measure say that it is up to the government to protect children from concussions and other types of head trauma; opponents argue that the restriction overreaches on the rights of parents to decide which activities they want their children to experience. A related bill was already introduced to the Maryland legislature, which requires a healthcare provider or trained medical personnel to be present at games and practices. These individuals would be on-hand to assess the risk and management of concussion and head injuries.

It is not difficult to understand why parents and lawmakers have concerns. Sports-related head injuries have been in the headlines for a few years since NFL players and other professional athletes shed light on the long-term effects of concussions. According to a June 2017 report from CNN, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) was discovered in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were studied after their passing. Considering the attention sports-related concussion and head injuries, it is important to review some of the symptoms, risks, and liability issues under Maryland law.