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Medical Experts Weigh in on Concussion Legislation

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Buffalo: Medical Experts Weigh in on Concussion Legislation
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- It was only introduced last week but legislation by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto is already receiving some backlash. Thursday Senator Tim Kennedy held a rally to protest the bill, which would ban children 11 and under from participating in youth football.

However Benedetto says he was inspired to act after watching his friend struggle with her son’s concussion.

"He went to college, never played a down of college football because all of a sudden the effects of years and years of blows to the head finally kicked in," said Assemblyman Michael Benedetto.

The vice president at the DENT Neurologic Institute says he has witnessed many children with concussions and says if coaches and parents could see the difficulties his patients deal with, it might make them want to change the game.

"At age 4, the size of the head is that of a ninety percent of an adult but their bodies are small. Although you can coach kids not to hit head to head, many of them are not agile enough and knowledgeable enough not to suffer head injuries in their collisions," said DENT Neurologic Institute Vice President Dr. Laszlo Mechtler.

Mechtler says other sports can create concussions but nearly 50 percent of the concussions he treats are from football.

"In football when being hit from the side or maybe hit and then thrown backwards and falling onto the turf or the grass, that in itself can cause concussive symptoms and head injuries,” said Mechtler.

Mechtler says many states have already started similar legislation, but have been with some resistance. Regardless, Benedetto plans to keep moving forward with the bill.

"Postpone it to a little later in their development where their bodies are stronger and they're better able to deal with the problems that might arise," said Benedetto.

Benedetto says the earliest the bill might be discussed on the Assembly floor would be in early May.

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