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From MedPage Today:

WASHINGTON -- Two members of Congress have introduced legislation that would give companies that make helmets for young athletes nine months to improve safety standards.

If the companies failed to improve their standards, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) would be required to set standards aimed at reducing the number of brain injuries sustained by athletes under the age of 18.

The bill was introduced last week in the House by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). who is the co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, and in the Senate by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.). In September, the House passed Pascrell's Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act, which would establish national protocols to manage sports-related concussions.

"We want our children to be active and athletic, but in the safest possible circumstances right down to the helmets they put on their heads," Pascrell said in a press release from the Kessler Foundation, a charity for people with physical and cognitive disability caused by injuries to the brain and spinal cord. "This bill is the logical next step in Congress' effort to protect our young athletes from brain injuries."

The bill would direct the CPSC to determine within nine months whether the voluntary safety standards for helmet-makers are adequate to result in reduction of the risk of injury. If the voluntary standards are found to be not good enough, the CPSC would have 30 days to set new standards for all football helmets that manufacturers would be required to follow. The bill also would require manufacturers to post warning labels on helmets noting their limited protection capabilities, a date of manufacture, and the date the helmet was last reconditioned.

The bill also would increase potential penalties for using false injury prevention claims to sell helmets and other sports equipment.

A football helmet's ability to protect athletes from injury declines over time as the helmet receives hits. Many football helmets are more than a decade old, the bill said.

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