NEW YORK (PIX11)– Back in November we here at PIX 11 told you about the concussion problems plaguing high school athletes, not just to New York but, throughout the country.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that student athletes suffer nearly 4,000,000 concussions each year. Now New York City is tackling the problem head-on.
But the future for the safety of Youth sports in New York City likely won’t be decided in the classroom or even on the sidelines, but rather at City Hall.
“We love our coaches, they’re there to make sure our teams compete and win and play fairly, But they’re not medical experts,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin. “It’s unfair for them to make those calls when it really should be a medical professional making those calls.”
Which is why city Levin has sponsored a new bill requiring doctors to be on the sidelines at all youth athletics in New York City not just for games, but for full contact practices as well.
“So that they can administer the concussion test, they can make the call I was trained professionals for whether a child or a student athlete is concussed or not.”
Dr. John Rupolo is a member of the International Craniopathic Society and former team doctor for several Long Island high schools and youth sports. Rupolo says in his experience having a team doctor on hand to quickly diagnose and treat a concussion is invaluable for young athletes.
“All responded better and all were able to get back playing much quicker, much sooner and had more complete recovery,” said Rupolo.
And because of the nature of brain development quick response may be even more important for younger athletes.
“Depending upon their maturation these sutures in the cranium may not be completely closed at 9 or 10 or 11 or 12 years old,” said Dr. Rupolo.
Which is why Levin’s bill would also develop a sports safety committee and require team physicians for all levels of youth sports in the five boroughs.
“And that’s really a public responsibility at the end of the day,” said Levin.
We’ll soon find out if other elected officials agree.
The City Council will hold a hearing on Levin’s Bill Friday.