CT Committee Considering Task Force on Youth Sport Safety

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Days after a Connecticut hockey game left him with a serious neck laceration for the second time in a year, the state legislature will relaunch a task force to study equipment safety in youth sports. .

“A law establishing a task force to study injury prevention and safety procedures in youth sports leagues and specific exercise programs” is one of 18 “concepts to be raised” on the children’s Tuesday agenda of the General Assembly. Committee on A similar proposal passed the House last year, but was not convened in the Senate.

Committee co-chair Rep. Liz Linehan said after the bill was proposed to require neck guards for youth hockey players, she was concerned whether they were the safest for all players.

“The question isn’t really whether a neck guard should be mandated,” Linehan said. “The problem is that no one regularly and consistently looks at the data surrounding sports safety equipment to make recommendations to the CIAC (and other sports leagues).”

Linehan notes that in a year’s time some of the equipment may have changed technology or updated data to consider. She envisions groups including physicians from various disciplines regularly examining the data and making recommendations.

“I’m a mom. I’m a mom to a kid who’s a really good athlete,” Linehan said.

After the death of New Canaan teenager Teddy Barkindo in a game on January 6, 2022, the hockey skater’s neck guard stepped into the limelight. Balkind was playing hockey at Luke’s Preparatory School in St. Brunswick, Greenwich, when he was accidentally hit in the neck. By skating other players.

One day, less than a year later, on Thursday, army forward Eric Hus suffered a severe neck laceration during a college hockey game against Sacred Heart in Bridgeport. to get Huss off the ice and get further medical help.

It is unclear whether neck guards were helpful in both Balkind’s and Huss’ cases, and it is also unclear whether Balkind wore them. Neither the NCAA nor New England Prep He Hockey requires skaters to wear neck guards, nor does the national governing body USA Hockey.

Army coach Brian Riley told Hearst Connecticut Media on Saturday that if his sons are playing youth hockey now, they should have a neck guard after seeing what happened to his players on Thursday. said he would wear it.

The CIAC, which governs high school hockey in the state, has mandated neck guards for many years.

The next step after Tuesday for this task force proposal is likely to be a public hearing. Linehan opposes considering state legislation on concussions in youth sports or intensifying physical assessments after Buffalo Bills guard Dumar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest at last week’s NFL game. She said she would like to hear from different people involved in youth sports about such ideas.

“I don’t know if it will fit within the bill,” she said. “I’m not sure if it should be outlined in the law, but I’m very, very interested in that discussion.”; @fornabaioctp


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