Tough state concussion rules get OK

SPRINGFIELD — A plan aimed at giving high school athletes more information about the dangers of concussions moved onto the Illinois Senate Tuesday after the House approved.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross' plan would require schools to teach coaches, students and parents about the dangers of concussions and adopt a policy on how to deal with the head injuries.

“We need to create an education process and awareness process at the high school level, Cross said.

The legislation would apply to all high school athletes, but talks about the dangers of head injuries have sprung from the NFL, where top football officials have changed rules in an effort to prevent concussions.

Former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson committed suicide last month after expressing concerns he had brain damage from his playing days. Duerson's teammate, offensive lineman Kurt Becker, lobbied in Springfield last week for the legislation.

The legislation moves to the Senate after House lawmakers approved it by a 112-0 vote.

Cross, of Oswego, says the plan could change, though, because high school athletes aren't the only young people at risk. The proposal could include regulations on park district or other leagues for children younger than high-school age.

“How far we go is up for debate,” Cross said.