ConTACT Act: Oct. 12, 2011
As many of you know, BIAA was out front on the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act, introduced in 2009 by Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. Although the legislation wasn't enacted, it was the only federal concussion bill to get any traction, despite the public relations muscle behind other proposals.
BIAA's early support positioned us to help broker a deal between the House, Senate and CDC to carry forward provisions of the bill through CDC's annual TBI Act budget. BIAA also ensured that the bill language included recommended collaboration between state brain injury associations and the state government agencies responsible for implementing many of the deliverables.
On September 27, 2011, Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Menendez (Senate champion for the measure) announced that CDC will begin to implement a major component of the ConTACT Act by forming an expert panel to define the need, scope, and expectations of federal concussion guidelines for student athletes. The guidelines that CDC develops will take into consideration advice from experts across the country and support the efforts of the current nationwide state brain injury concussion law initiative.
The CDC has notified the lawmakers that it will convene the expert panel during the next year. The resulting pediatric MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) guidelines and recommendations are expected to be finalized by the fall of 2013. BIAA is currently working with legislative staff and CDC to address other key components of the ConTACT Act including grants to states for implementation of these federal guidelines and return to play regulations as specified in each state's sports and concussion law, if applicable.