October 30, 2013

Udall, Rockefeller React to New Report on Sports Equipment & Concussions

Study reinforces urgent need for the senators' legislation to curb false advertising claims and encourage better equipment safety standards

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, today released the following statements after the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies released a report concluding there is little to no medical evidence that youth equipment protects against risks of concussions. At Rockefeller and Udall's urging, the IOM studied how best to protect young athletes from sports-related concussions so parents and coaches can make informed decisions about how to keep athletes safe.

"Playing sports is an important part of growing up and of the culture of New Mexico's communities," Udall said. "But parents deserve to know how safe their children's safety equipment really is. While we can't reduce every risk, we should do everything we can to stop misleading advertising that gives parents a false sense of security. I'm glad to see today's report, which provides a level of unbiased and authoritative information on this issue. I hope we will be able to build on this information to ensure young athletes in New Mexico and around the country are competing in the safest environments possible."

"Concussions are a very serious and often heartbreaking health issue for our children and teenagers," Rockefeller said. "This latest study adds to the mounting evidence against sports equipment manufacturers that claim their products reduce the risk of concussions. These claims are profoundly dishonest to our young athletes, parents and coaches. We all want our children to experience the challenges, excitement and health benefits that come from playing sports. But athletes and their parents need to be fully informed of the risks and should never be given a false sense of safety."

Rockefeller and Udall introduced the Youth Sports Concussion Act, S. 1014, to protect youth athletes from the dangers of concussions by curbing false advertising claims and encouraging improvements to equipment safety standards. The bill is supported by major sports leagues and players' associations, high school and college sports associations, pediatricians, scientists, and several consumer groups.

The legislation was introduced after the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing in October 2011 on sports equipment marketing and concussions. During the hearing, it was revealed that sports equipment manufacturers have repeatedly made claims that their equipment "prevents concussions" or "reduce the risk of concussions" without scientific evidence to back those claims.