9:53 PM EDT
Bill Pascrell Jr., D-NJ 8th

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, as you know, Speaker Pelosi gaveled in the 110th Congress on behalf of America's children. Today I am proud to say the House will consider this bipartisan bill to protect our children in youth sports.

As cochair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force with Congressman Platts from Pennsylvania, I have worked for the last 9 years on the issue of brain injury for our troops, as well as those who are playing sports, all sports, men and women.

Back then, we had no idea how prevalent brain jury would become for our youth. A study published this month in Pediatrics found that between 1997 and 2007, the number of children seeking emergency medical care for concussions doubled.

To address this growing problem for schools, Congressman Todd Platts and I introduced the ConTACT Act, H.R. 1347, to create Federal guidelines on concussion management and a grant program for States to implement these policies.

This bill is dedicated to kids like Ryne Dougherty, a constituent of mine who died after returning to a football game without recovering from a previous concussion, and Niki Popyer, who suffered over 11 concussions from basketball. While we did not have the proper guidelines in place to protect them on the field of play, this bill would create Federal guidelines, not by the Congress but by professionals, to protect other student athletes so they can excel not only in sports but in school.

I want to thank Speaker Pelosi, and I want to thank Majority Leader Hoyer for recognizing the importance of bringing this bill to the floor, and Chairman Waxman and Chairman Pallone for helping this particular bill through the committee process.

I want to thank the organizations that supported the bill, that recognized its value for our citizens: The Brain Injury Association, Easter Seals, the NFL, the NFL Players Association, the Parkinson's Action Network, the National Athletic Trainers Association, the National Association of Head Injury Administrators, the New Jersey Council of General Hospitals, and the American College of Rehabilitation Medicine.

This is a big deal for the kids that are our children, our grandchildren, throughout the United States. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Minority Leader.