Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Former Cal Bears Lineman Garamendi Cosponsors Sports Concussion Legislation

December 17, 2015
Press Release

DAVIS, CA - Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, Davis, Yuba City, CA), a former offensive and defensive lineman for the Cal Bears and NFL prospect before deciding to pursue a career in public service, is helping lead the fight in Congress to raise awareness about the need for improved safety in high school sports by cosponsoring H.R. 3986, the High School Football Safety Study Act of 2015.

The bill directs the Centers for Disease Control, in consultation with the Department of Education and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, to conduct a study on the causes of deaths in high school football and to develop recommendations to prevent death and serious injury in the future, including innovative ways of harnessing technology and data analytics to keep student-athletes healthy.

“High school and college sports helped keep me fit and taught me the importance of self-discipline and cooperation at an early age. Looking back on it, I also realize I was one of the lucky ones. Many people in my situation walked away with brain injuries that stuck with them for life,” Congressman Garamendi said. “I helped make high school football safer with state legislation in the 1970s, and we’re long overdue for science-driven reforms on the federal level too. The High School Football Safety Study Act is an important step forward to better protect many of our nation’s brightest and most driven student athletes from injuries that could hold them back or lead to death.”

In 1976, Garamendi, then a state legislator, authored legislation to ensure that helmets worn by high school football players gave them better protection. Since then, there have been major advances in our understanding of concussion-related injuries. The forthcoming movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith, centers around the pioneering research by Dr. Bennet Omalu about the prevalence of brain injuries in football.