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High school sports: Concussion bill voted down in Oklahoma House

by Scott Wright Published: April 16, 2014

A bill to reform concussion management and treatment at the high school and youth sports levels was defeated by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday, despite earlier passing through the state Senate with ease and gaining headway in a House committee.

Senate Bill 1790 was voted down on the House floor by a count of 45-39. It had previously cleared the House’s Common Education Committee by a vote of 16-1.

The bill was researched and written by a group led by Lauren Long, co-founder of Concussion Connection, and UCO Athletic Training Program Director Jeff McKibben.

Long called it a “discouraging and upsetting day in Oklahoma sports history,” adding that she believed the failure of the bill was partially due to some legislators’ lack of education on the dangers of concussions.

“We worked extremely hard on making sure that this piece of legislation was up to date in terms of research, management and overall protocol for how sport-related concussions should be handled,” Long said. “It's very disappointing to see that Oklahoma will remain one step behind the rest of the country when it comes to youth sports and concussion safety.”

Long said she had not yet spoken with any of the state congressmen who had supported the bill, including State Rep. Mike Jackson, who introduced the bill to the House on Tuesday. But Long says her group will push forward to bring new concussion legislation and education to the state.

“Our group will continue to improve on current legislation through more research on concussions and research on other states as they continue to adopt more current concussion mandates,” she said. “We have received positive feedback from many legislators and we will continue to build on the momentum to file SB 1790 again next year.

In the meantime, we will continue educating and advocating for concussion awareness and making sure that all athletes, coaches, officials, referees and parents have a thorough understanding of why concussions should be and must be taken seriously.”

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by Scott Wright
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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