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Pallone Applauds USA Football Rules Changes to Address Safety

February 1, 2017
Press Release

Washington- DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) Energy Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded USA Football, the national governing body for amateur football, for making several changes to the rules and format for youth football in an effort to improve player safety and reduce the risks of long-term brain damage.

In May at the Marlboro Township Recreation Community Center, Pallone announced that he and several of his colleagues had sent letters to collegiate and youth football leaders asking how they plan to prevent and mitigate the risks of degenerative brain disorders for student-athletes. The request came after the National Football League acknowledged for the first time at a Energy and Commerce Committee roundtable in March that there is a link between football and degenerative brain disorders.  

“Parents across the country are rightfully concerned about protecting their kids from the risks of concussions and sports-related head trauma in football and other sports,” Pallone said.  “Today’s announcement from USA Football on updates to the rules and format for youth football are a good first step, and a welcome response to our request for change last year.  We must also continue to invest in scientific research to better understand the long-term impacts of repetitive head trauma on athletes of all ages.”

Recent research suggests that athletes can sustain significant brain damage caused solely by repeated head impacts, or subconcussive events, even if those collisions do not result in concussions.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the problem is of special concern in youth sports because children and teens may be more vulnerable to brain injuries than adults, and take longer to recover. 

The text of the Letter to USA Football can be found below.