Levin wants city to take closer look at youth sports injuries

Calls for creation of task force

February 26, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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City officials should be taking a closer look at injuries suffered by children playing sports, according to Councilman Stephen Levin, who introduced legislation this week that would create a youth sports health and safety task force.

Under Levin’s plan, the task force would track injuries sustained during youth sports activities in New York City. The task force would be responsible for analyzing how injuries affect the victims’ educational performance and behavior. The panel would then make recommendations to the mayor and City Council on the prevention and alleviation of such impacts.

The task force would have seven members and would include representation by Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Departments of Education, Health and Mental Hygiene and Parks and Recreation.

“Athletics are an incredible opportunity for personal growth and to stay active, but it is important that children can compete in a safe and healthy manner. Injuries in youth sports are a serious problem and I can recall numerous times growing up where my friends or myself would incur injuries while playing sports,” Levin (D-Greenpoint-Williamsburg) said in a statement.

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Earlier this month, Levin announced the Youth Football Safety Act to address the problem of concussions in youth football. The legislation would require that a doctor be present at every youth football game.

According to a Safe Kids Worldwide report issued in 2013, 1.35 million youth athletes have serious sports injuries each year.  The report found that 163,670 children were seen in emergency rooms last year for sports-related concussions.

“This is happening across the country and now New York City has the opportunity to be a leader in making youth sports safer and healthier for each and every child. A task force that makes recommendations to increase the health and safety of youth sports is the first step towards that future and will benefit the long-term development of our kids,” Levin said.

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