October 24, 2012

Udall, Rockefeller Welcome National Academies' Study on Concussions in Youth Sports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Today U.S. Senator Tom Udall, (D-NM) and Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV) commended the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies for creating a committee to study sports-related concussions in youth. Rockefeller and Udall sent a letter in May 2012 to the National Academy of Sciences urging a comprehensive assessment of how best to protect young athletes.

"I appreciate the decision by the Institute of Medicine to move forward with our request," Udall said. "The study from the National Academy of Science will bring a level of unbiased and authoritative advice to this issue and will help ensure student athletes in New Mexico and around the country are competing in the safest environments possible."

"We need to know as much as possible about sports-related concussions and their effects on our children, which is why Senator Udall and I asked the National Academies and our nation's top scientists to comprehensively study the issue," said Rockefeller. "Athletes, parents, and coaches should have the best science available to make informed decisions that maintain the safety of our young athletes while ensuring children continue to enjoy themselves on the field. I'm glad the National Academies is taking this issue seriously."

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in October 2011, Alexis Ball, a senior at the University of New Mexico, traveled to Washington D.C. to offer personal testimony on the effects of sports concussions. Click here for Sen. Udall's opening statement and testimony from Ms. Ball beginning at the 27:00 mark.

The hearing uncovered that sports equipment manufacturers have repeatedly made claims that their equipment "prevents concussions" or "reduce the risk of concussions" without scientific evidence to prove them.

Udall is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance.