Bears strongly backing concussion legislation

Bears strongly backing concussion legislation
March 11, 2011, 8:50 pm
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Friday, March 11, 2011Posted: 2:20 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

On the matter of lasting effects from concussions, Bears greats Richard Dent and Otis Wilson had a slight difference of opinion.

I never had a concussion, Wilson insisted, walking away with a laugh. I gave concussions.

His Hall of Fame teammate demurred.

He doesnt remember, Dent said, shaking his head. He had some, Im pretty sure he had some blank-out moments. But hes 55 now so he doesnt recall.

Wilsons number was 55; his age is 53. And somehow you know The Colonel knew that.

The two Super Bowl XX greats were on hand Friday at Soldier Field to add their support to that of the Bears organization, in the persons of Vice Chairman George McCaskey, President Ted Phillips and head athletic trainer Tim Bream, in support of legislation in the state Senate to take on the challenge of concussion legislation.

Im also the father of three sons whove grown up in athletics, Phillips said. So I know that injuries will always occur in high school sports and youth sports. This legislation is not a cure-all but I think it will go a long way to prevent needless head injuries and might even save lives among the young kids, boys and girls, in this state who are athletes.

We at the Bears are pledged to do whatever we can to help see that this legislation becomes law as quickly as possible.

The legislation, with the backing of House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), would require all school boards to adopt a multi-level policy regarding student-athlete concussions and head injuries.

This is a great thing for high school sports in Illinois because it creates a solid platform on concussions that we can all build upon, said 1980s Bears guard Kurt Becker, assistant head football coach at Marmion Academy in Aurora. Its putting the puzzle together. If the puzzle comes together with concussions and the inherent risks that follow concussions, its a scary situation.

The timing on this is tremendous. And the nice thing is that coaches arent involved in the decision. The student-athlete goes into the hands of the first responder, which is the trainer.

It wasnt always that way, as too many athletes know.

It used to be, Get up and try it again, son, Dent said, adding that the solution also will involve other on-field adjustments.

Kids are more aware now. You can wrestle and get a concussion. This is a collision sport. Youre putting a defensive player in jeopardy when you tell him how he can come in, yet the running back can still drop his head and run over you. Sooner or later youre going to get more shoulder, more neck problems.

Youve got to support the spine and support the shoulders.

Wilson stressed the inherent risks that come with a collision sport but I think is a good thing theyre trying to do stop concussion problems at an early age.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.