DENVER (CBS4)- Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Ed McCaffrey is showing his support for Senate Bill 40, the “Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act.”
Jake’s mother, Kelli Jantz, was among those who spoke at the state Capitol on Thursday, along with Sen. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, and Sen. Linda Newell, D-Littleton.
Snakenberg died in 2004 after suffering a concussion playing football as a freshman.
“Nearly 6 and a half years ago our lives were forever changed,” said Jantz. “Our 14-year-old son Jake collapsed while playing in a freshman football game at Grandview High School.”
“It’s Jake, it’s really who Jake was, he was a tough, all-American boy, but he had such a big heart and it was so important for him to look out for others, too,” said Jantz.
The bill would require coaches to receive training in the signs of a concussion. The NFL is among those backing the bill, along with McCaffrey.
“No youth game is worth sustaining long-term brain damage. If coaches are educated, they’ll be better able to recognize symptoms and get players off the field and not send them back until they have medical clearance,” said McCaffrey.
It’s not just football players who are at risk. Gabbie McWilliams, 11, suffered a severe concussion while playing soccer.
“I’m here to tell all people the importance of concussions,” said McWilliams.
“In the back of my mind I didn’t think she had a concussion because she didn’t have some of the symptoms of being knocked out,” said Gabbie’s mother, Theresa McWilliams.
The bill helps to keep young athletes active and safe in three important ways. They are as follows:
1) SB-40 ensures that coaches of youth sports get training in how to understand the nature and risk of concussions and be able to recognize the signs and symptoms that indicate a young athlete may have sustained a concussion.
2) If a coach suspects that a player has sustained a concussion, the athlete must be removed from practice or play and cannot return that same day (unless the signs and symptoms of a concussion can be readily explained by another condition).
3) Before returning to practice or play, a player who has been removed due to a suspected concussion must be evaluated by a health care provider and receive written clearance from the provider to return to play. In an effort to ensure access across all parts of Colorado, the bill broadly defines the health care providers that can determine if an athlete is ready to return to play-physicians and neuro-psychologists along with physician assistants and nurse practitioners.