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Concussion policy bill advances in Senate

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 20, 2013 at 6:13 pm •  Published: February 20, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said later that the league is funding research to learn more about the risks and changing rules to make the game safer.

On Wednesday, NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch, who oversees law and labor policy for the league, told The Associated Press before speaking to the Senate Education Committee that the league supports concussion legislation and hopes all states will eventually pass similar measures.

"We've been supporting this type of legislation for a number of years ... with the goal of trying to have a law like this in every state," he said.

A similar Tennessee proposal failed in the Legislature last year. Sponsors of the current legislation said there were concerns about who should be the authority on whether a student can resume play, but that issue seems to have been resolved.

"We've worked hard with all the groups from last year ... and they're all on board with this version of the bill," said Republican Rep. Cameron Sexton of Crossville, who is sponsoring the companion bill.

This month, the Youth Sports Safety Alliance released recommendations aimed at protecting the nearly 8 million students participating in high school sports each year.

Among the recommendations was requiring students to have a pre-season physical exam, including testing for some of the 400,000 concussions students suffer annually.

Texas, the state with the largest number of student athletes, already is following most of the advocates' requirement. Each school district is required to have a concussion-prevention program led by at least one medical professional.