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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

Abraham, Richmond introduce bill to address high school football deaths

November 5, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto; Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans; and Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.; introduced a bill Thursday, Nov. 5, that seeks to prevent deaths of high school football players.

The bipartisan High School Football Safety Study Act would direct the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to work with the Secretary of Education and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to study the causes of deaths in high school football and deliver recommendations about how to prevent future tragedies.

“My district felt the terrible effects of one of these tragedies just this year,” Dr. Abraham said. “This bill will seek the root causes of such incidents so that we can better protect our children while preserving the game we love. Saving the lives of our children is a worthy cause to pursue, and I commend Rep. Richmond and Rep. Rush for their leadership on this issue.”

Both Dr. Abraham and Rep. Rush represent districts that experienced a high school football fatality this year. Franklin Parish High School player Tyrell Cameron, 16, died Sept. 4 following an injury during a game. Andre Smith, a 17-year-old from Bogan High School in Chicago, also died from an in-game injury on Oct. 22.

Since July 1, 11 high school football players have died nationally from causes directly or indirectly related to football. According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at the University of North Carolina, 1,207 high school football players have died from causes related to football.

The bill would require that the CDC seek input from parents, coaches, athletic trainers and healthcare professionals, and asks the CDC to analyze how technology and data analytics can be used to prevent serious injuries and deaths in the future.

The bill would NOT impose any new regulations. It only directs existing federal agencies to study the issue and offer recommendations for solutions.

“Our children are our greatest national treasure, and protecting them is paramount in our work in Congress,” said Richmond. “It is our responsibility to ensure that we leave no stone unturned to make the game as safe as possible for young people and prevent these tragedies from happening in the future. Moving forward, I hope this legislation will start that process and begin a national conversation about how to better protect youth in football.”

“No child should suffer a deadly accident or injury while participating in high school sports,” said Rush. “This legislation is important because it will help us protect America’s children and keep them safe. There have been far too many reports of high school deaths related to sports and it is time we address this issue head on and so I urge my colleagues to support this bill.”