Legislature Passes Flores’ Bill to Protect Students from Head Injuries

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 8, 2012

CONTACT: Maria Chamorro , (850) 487-5130

Senate Bill 256 Aims to Prevent Youth Sports Concussions

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.
The Florida Legislature today unanimously passed a bill that will help prevent head injuries among student athletes in Florida. Sponsored by Senator Anitere Flores, R-Miami, the bill passed unanimously from the Senate and will now be sent to Governor Rick Scott for the opportunity to be signed into law. Educating youth athletes, coaches and parents about the warning signs for concussions, Senate Bill 256 aims to protect injured athletes from getting back into the game too soon.

“I heard personally from concerned constituents about the lack of awareness regarding head injuries and the proper precautions,” said Flores. “All too often, athletes get back in the game without fully considering their injuries and the potential for long-term cognitive deficits. I am very proud of the strides that were made today to help protect Florida’s student athletes and am thankful for the broad support from both sides of the aisle.”

Traumatic brain injuries occur when a player receives a major blow to the head that causes the brain to slam against the skull, resulting in soft tissue injury and cell death. Often, there is a second injury as the brain rebounds against the opposite side of the skull. These injuries can occur in a variety of sports’ games, tryouts and practices, including football, volleyball, baseball, lacrosse and cheerleading. According to the Center for Injury Research and Policy, of the approximately 140,000 high school athletes who suffer concussions each year in the United States, more than 40 percent return to play before properly recovering. Such head injuries can have profound effects on children with developing brains. In extreme cases, injuries can even lead to death.

Currently, at least 30 other states have adopted legislation similar to Flores’ bill, which is supported by the National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. SB 256 will educate parents, student athletes and coaches on the risk and identification of brain injuries. It also authorizes the Florida High School Athletic Association and coaches’ associations to create rules for removing student athletes when brain injuries occur, and it establishes a policy to return players back to play after their recovery with the authorization of a doctor.

Seventeen-year-old Miami-Dade County resident David Goldstein and his parents, Adam and Cheryl Goldstein, were among the advocates who came to Tallahassee this session to advocate in support of the bill. David suffered a serious head injury in 2010 when he collided with another soccer player during the district finals for his school team. He knew immediately that something was not right, but he stayed in the game. In the days that followed, David exhibited flu-like symptoms followed by weeks without improvement. The Goldstein family went through months of medical consultations before identifying the proper treatment. Today, David is wise to the potential risks, wears protective headgear and knows how to identify the warning signs of traumatic brain injuries. He has also become an advocate for athlete education and concussion testing at local public schools in his area.

“David’s example resonates because this scary situation could happen to any player and any parent of a student athlete,” added Flores. “Without being educated about the potential risks, parents are simply unaware of the symptoms their child might be experiencing. SB 256 will help individuals assess these situations and provide the proper care.”

To track the progress of this and other bills moving through the legislative process, visit www.flsenate.gov.

2012 Legislative Session Successfully Concludes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 9, 2012

CONTACT: Lyndsey Cruley, (850) 487-5632


2012 Legislative Session Successfully Concludes

Florida Legislature Ushers in Measures to Better the State of Florida

Tallahassee
The 2012 Legislative Session concluded on Friday with the Florida Legislature passing a balanced, no new taxes budget that encourages economic development and job creation and includes $1 billion in new funding for K – 12 education.  In addition to passing a fiscally responsible budget, the Florida Legislature ushered in a variety of legislation that aims to make Florida the optimal state to live and work. 

“Today, we concluded the work of the Florida Legislature, and while we continue to struggle under trying economic times, we successfully passed a balanced budget without raising a single tax or fee on Florida’s hardworking families,” said Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R-Merritt Island). “I’m proud of the work we completed in the past 60 days, and I am confident that by ushering in a variety of good legislation, we have made Florida more attractive to business owners and entrepreneurs and improved the state for all Floridians.”

Despite an on-going economic downturn and a $1.4 billion budget shortfall, the legislature approved a $70 billion state budget that includes no new taxes.  The budget provides funding for the critical needs of Florida while also dedicating more than $1 billion in new funding for K – 12 education and encourages economic development and job creation by providing predictability and stability to our state’s business owners and entrepreneurs. 

The Florida Legislature also provided $120 million in tax relief for Floridians.  Included in the legislature’s tax cut bill is the expansion of the successful New Markets program, a back-to-school tax holiday, an additional $14.9 million for the State Economic Enhancement and Development Trust Fund to be used by the Department of Economic Opportunity for economic development programs, and various other measures to reduce the overall tax burden on all Floridians.

In addition to tax relief, the legislature reduced the number of administrative rules in the State of Florida, dramatically reducing bureaucratic red tape.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Jim Norman (R-Tampa), eliminates 270 obsolete agency rules.

This session, the legislature also made sweeping changes to the state’s personal injury protection (PIP) medical benefits under the No-Fault law and laws related to motor vehicle insurance fraud.  Currently, PIP is wrought with fraud and abuse, and this legislation, sponsored by Senator Joe Negron (R-Stuart), reforms PIP from start to finish and will end the cycle of rising auto insurance premiums.

The legislature also enacted an omnibus military affairs bill – one of the most beneficial bills for military servicemen and veterans to be adopted by the legislature in Florida’s history.  This military affairs bill establishes priority course registration for veterans, pre-trial intervention and special courts for veterans, special preference for wartime veteran small business owners, special license plates for veterans who are recipients of the highest military decorations to include the Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, and the Combat Infantry Badge, special license plates for veterans who served in the Vietnam War and the Korean Conflict, and road designations that will serve to commemorate and honor the courageous sacrifices of fellow Floridians who chose to serve our country.     

Finally, the Florida Legislature restored justice to two Floridians through the claim bill process this session.  Eric Brody, who suffered catastrophic injuries after being struck by a police cruiser 13 years ago, was given $10.75 million.  And William Dillon, who was wrongfully incarcerated for 27 years of his life, was also given justice and compensated this session.  

# # #