Falcons players address lawmakers on dangers of concussions - CBS46 News

Falcons players address state lawmakers on dangers of concussions

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Georgia legislators heard from current and former Atlanta Falcons players Wednesday on the urgent need for further protection of high school athletes against concussions. The players, including former Falcons Defensive Tackle Buddy Curry and current Place Kicker Matt Bryant, spoke in support House Bill 637, sponsored by Rep. Billy Mitchell, D-Stone Mountain.

The bill would require state-wide standards for concussion testing during athletic events, concussion education for parents, players and coaches, and minimum recovery standards to be met by a player before they return from a head injury.

"There's one thing to be able to play with a sprained ankle or some type of injury, but concussions is a whole 'nother ball game," said Curry, speaking before the legislative committee.

Piedmont Hospital Neurologist Dr. Robert Gilbert said the dangers of head injuries, especially for teenagers with still-developing bodies, cannot be understated.

"We often see patients who may have had repeated injuries early in life when we didn't have any criteria, and they're beginning to have earlier memory and processing problems as an adult," said Gilbert.

"I think a lot of times we see players going back on the field the same day of having had a concussion, and hopefully those days are more limited now," he said.

Lovett School Head Trainer Sean DelFavero said he's been shocked at how unaware some athletic departments are when their students suffer head injuries.

"I've seen even doctors not handle it properly, where kids say they're dinged, or whatever, and they get 'em up, they walk them off the field, and I see the kid come back on the field," said DelFavero.

House Bill 637 must clear committee hearings before it heads to a vote in the State House of Representatives and Senate. If approved by law makers, it would take effect January 1, 2013.