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NJ Lawmakers Push CDC For Guidelines On Treating Concussions

Sen. Menendez (R) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (L) (credit: CBS 2)

Sen. Menendez (R) and Congressman Bill Pascrell (L) (credit: CBS 2)

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NUTLEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Those vicious helmet-to-helmet hits on the football field may bring fans to their feet, but they also make parents cringe.

So what can be done to curb the resulting concussions that many young athletes suffer?

Football is back, and with it, the violent collisions that sometimes leave players with concussions.

“There are plenty of other kids I know from going to college camps that play through concussions for a whole season at some point,” Nutley High School senior Michael Hovan told CBS 2′s Mark Morgan.

But health experts say playing through concussions is exactly what kids shouldn’t do.

Now, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Congressman Bill Pascrell are trying to put an end to it. They have convinced the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to set up guidelines for recognizing and treating concussions.

“It is important to be able to ensure that any student that gets in a game can be identified if they have a concussion and can be saved from further injury,” Menendez said.

Menendez expects the CDC panel to draw information from experts around the country, something that could have helped Tyler Pugliese several years ago, when he suffered a minor concussion playing lacrosse.

“It took me a month to recover. I went to the doctors to do the right thing…there really wasn’t no like as strict as it was today with medical, with the impact tests that you have to take. It wasn’t like that at all, it was just ‘alright, do you feel better?” Pugliese said.

With no off-season for many young athletes, they are more likely to sustain head injuries.

“They play multiple sports, and as a consequence, there are multiple athletic exposures. When you increase the athletic exposures, you increase the probability of a concussion,” said Dr. Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, of the Sports Concussion Center of NJ.

The hope is that the guidelines the CDC develops will help lay the groundwork for all 50 states to set a standard that will help protect young athletes across the country.

The CDC says it will convene the expert panel during the next year, and have the guidelines and recommendations finalized by fall 2013.

Are enough precautions being taken to protect young athletes?  Share your thoughts in the comments section…