Aldermen, Former Bear Focus on Concussion Threat - NBC Chicago

Aldermen, Former Bear Focus on Concussion Threat



    Aldermen, Former Bear Focus on Concussion Threat
    Mind-reading fMRI brain scans that measures blood flow might be making an entrance into the legal system as the next generation of lie detectors.

    Chicago has joined the national debate about the severe and lasting effects of concussions on football players.

    This week, two aldermen proposed strict new rules for all student athletes in the city, and former Bears star quarterback Jim McMahon announced he's going to host a Chicago fundraiser focused on the topic.

    The Illinois High School Association currently bars players from returning to activity if they have symptoms associated with concussions such as headache, nausea and blurred vision. 

    The new rules proposed by Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and Latasha Thomas (17th) would require students to get a full evaluation and be cleared by a doctor before rejoining the team. It would also extend the rules to practice, and any other school-sponsored athletic activities.

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    It would apply to all public and private schools that accept tax exemptions for water and sewage. Any school that does not comply could have the exemptions revoked.

    "Too many times coaches, and athletes themselves, want to get back into the game, even though medical evidence is clear that once you sustain an injury like this, you should be stabilized and not subject to the risk of further injury," said Burke, according to the Chicago Tribune.

    The legislation comes as football programs across the country take a closer look at brain injuries. Increased awareness in the NFL has kept players, including Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, out for extended rest after a concussion this season.

    McMahon recently spoke about the long-term effects from the hard hits he took as a player.

    "My memory’s pretty much gone," he told the Tribune over the weekend.  "There are a lot of times when I walk into a room and forget why I walked in there. I'm going through some studies right now, and I am going to do a brain scan. It's unfortunate what the game does to you," he said. 

    McMahon now plans to help raise money for research on brain injuries, beginning with a fundraiser in January with some of his ’85 Bear teammates.  The proceeds would go to educational programming and clinics for Chicago-area youth coaches.

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