Missouri lawmakers should give serious consideration to a proposed bill requiring medical evaluation prior to returning to play
for high-school athletes who suffer head injuries, according to recent testimony by a sports medicine expert from Washington University in St. Louis.
Mark E. Halstead, M.D., assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and of pediatrics in the School of Medicine and an assistant team physician for the St. Louis Rams, Washington University and Lafayette High School, testified in hearings on HB 1548 before the Healthcare Transformation Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Don Calloway (D-St. Louis), would require that any high-school athlete who suffers a head injury must undergo an evaluation from a licensed health-care provider experienced in concussion management before being cleared to return to play.
“It’s scary to think about ‘A’ students becoming ‘C’ students, but I unfortunately see that as a result of concussions in my office on a weekly basis,” Halstead told the committee. “Athletes who have had concusssions have been shown to suffer from Alzheimer’s-like symptoms or dementia as they get older … and that’s not something I want any family to deal with if we can reduce the likelihood of it.”
Comments by Halstead and other experts were included in a news article on the hearings that ran Feb. 9 on the Web site of the Missourinet news service. Streaming audio and video versions of Halstead’s 21-minute testimony also are available from links included with the Missourinet article.
Halstead is a specialist in primary care sports medicine focusing on sport-related concussion management and on injuries and overuse problems in athletes. He is one of 140 board-certified pediatric sports medicine specialists in the United States.
For additional background on Halstead and his work, visit the links below: