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Derek Sheely Death Prompts Rep. Linda Sánchez to Seek NCCA Review of Head Concussion Policy

Rep. Linda T. Sanchez inspects football helmet in a former hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Rep. Linda T. Sanchez inspects football helmet in a former hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Fox News Photo

By Brian Hews

Washington, DC – Congresswoman Linda T. Sánchez (CA-38) has fired off a letter to head of the National Collegiate Athletic Association calling on organization to “ensure that college sports departments are taking proper action to protect players from head injuries.”

Hews Media Group-Community Newspapers was sent a copy of Congresswoman Sánchez’s letter to NCCA President Mark Emmert on Tuesday afternoon via an email.

Sanchez told Emmert that she was following the case of Derek Sheely, a 22 year-old football player and student at Frostburg State University, who had suffered a traumatic head injury during a football practice and later died.

“Something is clearly wrong when a player like Mr. Sheely is allowed to return to the playing field despite suffering a head injury,” said Sánchez.

“It is time for the NCAA to review its concussion policy and take stronger measures to protect the safety of its students,” she said.  Sanchez represents a wide swatch of Southeast Los Angeles County including the cities of Cerritos, Artesia, Norwalk, Downey, Montebello and Pico Rivera.

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...

English: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) logo. Source: http://www1.ncaa.org/eprise/main/Public/mlp/promotions_special_events/pe_web/promo_manual/memos/identity.pdf Converted by User:King of Hearts from :Image:National Collegiate Athletic Association logo.png using Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sanchez has tackled the issue of head injuries during the past number of years in professional athletes who play in the National Football League.

Sanchez told HMG-CN that between 2004 and 2009 there were more than 29,000 reported concussions in college sports, with more than half of them occurring in football.

Sanchez claims that the NCAA’s current concussion policy varies widely in scope, language and requirements, and that there are “no guidelines in place” to ensure that schools are enforcing the NCAA’s policies.

Sanchez cited a 2010 survey of NCAA trainers that she said found that more than half of the schools did not require student athletes who suffered a concussion to see a physician.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Student athletes deserve to know that there are policies in place that will protect them in the event they suffer an injury on the field,” Sanchez said.

“Concussions can happen to an athlete of any age, any league, and any sport,” said Sánchez.

“These young people might play in non-revenue sports, but that does not mean they should be ignored. My hope is that the NCAA will further focus on head injuries and develop safety plans that encompass all sports, not just football,” Sanchez said.

HMG-CN called Emmert for comment and reaction to the situation.  Emmert was not available and a message was left.

In 2007, Sánchez chaired a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law to examine if the NFL’s player disability plan was adequately serving former players, many of whom suffer from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of multiple concussions.

Since then, Congress had held hearings on concussions in the 110th and 111th Congress which resulted in greater public awareness and changes to how football teams address player concussions on all levels of play.




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  • David Lauderdale says:

    I for one would like to see Ms Sanchez, as well as all of my representatives attention in California, and her district and not in Maryland, and certainly not in College Sports.. We Got’s Bigger Problems than that ..
    In case you haven’t been paying attention.

  • Smitty says:

    If Sanchez really cared about the athletes, she’d let them get paid income and medical benefits in addition to free tuition-but that would cut into the corporate revenues and the college sports no-pay cartel.

    The NCAA is a ruthless power and money monopoly cartel with their primary goal not protecting student-athletes, but exploiting them and making sure they can’t get paid-by anybody.

    The NCAA is a no-pay cartel, where everybody gets paid except the guys on the field getting hammered.