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Concussion testing bill for athletes gets airing at State House

An Emerson College freshman told legislators Tuesday her story of sustaining a concussion playing high school soccer and urged lawmakers to adopt a measure designed to protect the brains of student athletes.

Molly Caron, of Raynham, told legislators that after enduring a concussion, she felt she couldn’t participate in certain activities for fear of imperiling her health, said state Senator Marc Pacheco, the Taunton Democrat championing legislation designed to protect athletes.

The measure calls for students in all Massachusetts schools to be tested upon joining an athletic team. Student athletes would answer a series of questions and be given a score showing how their brain performs uninjured.


If a student suffered a concussion, the student’s doctor could then administer the test again, and compare that score to the original analysis. Doctors then would have more information when deciding if athletes should return to the field, Pacheco said.

“It seemed to me it would be a common sense kind of practice,” Pacheco said.

Some schools already administer such tests, Emerson College among them, but not Bridgwater-Raynham Regional High School, Pacheco said.

Caron and Pacheco testified Tuesday before the Joint Committee on Public Health. “I’m cautiously optimistic they will see the merit,” Pacheco said.

The legislation received support from athletic trainers, a neurosurgeon, a neuropsychologist, a recreation director, former New England Patriot Andre Tippett, and a former professional wrestler who suffered a concussion.

The senator said the committee will review the legislation and decide whether to recommend passage. If the measure gets the nod, it would go first to the Senate and, if approved there, to the House.

Melissa can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com.