H. R. 1127
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
March 16, 2011
Mr. Pascrell (for himself, Mr. Platts, and Mr. Weiner) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To encourage and ensure the use of safe football helmets and for other purposes.
Short title; table of contents
This Act may be cited as the
Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety
Table of Contents
The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Findings.
Sec. 3. Football helmet safety standards.
Sec. 4. Application of third-party testing and certification requirements to youth football helmets.
Sec. 5. False or misleading claims with respect to athletic sporting activity goods.
The Congress finds the following:
Participation in sports and athletic activities provides many benefits to children and should be encouraged.
Participation in sports and athletic activities does involve some inevitable risk of injury that no protective gear or safety device can fully eliminate.
Sports-related concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that can lead to lasting negative health consequences.
Direct medical costs and indirect costs of traumatic brain injuries totaled an estimated $60,000,000,000 in the United States in the year 2000.
Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for Americans who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle crashes.
Every year, American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3,800,000 sports-related concussions.
The potential for catastrophic injury resulting from multiple concussions make sports-related concussion a significant concern for young athletes, coaches, and parents.
Football has the highest incidence of concussions, which also occur in many other sports such as baseball, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and softball.
An estimated 4,500,000 children play football in organized youth and school sports leagues, including approximately 1,500,000 high school players.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 920,000 athletes under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for football-related injuries in the year 2007.
In any given football season, 20 percent of all high school football players sustain brain injuries.
One study that included a post-season survey of football players found that 47 percent experienced at least one concussion and almost 35 percent experienced multiple concussions.
Medical experts at Boston University School of Medicine found that a deceased 18-year-old athlete, who had experienced multiple concussions playing high school football, suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by head trauma.
A football helmet’s ability to protect players from injury by attenuating acceleration forces can decline over time as the helmet experiences thousands of hits from use during successive football seasons after its original date of manufacture.
According to industry estimates, 100,000 football helmets more than ten years old, and thousands almost twenty years old, were worn by players in the 2009 season.
A high school football player who suffered brain damage from being hit in the head soon after suffering a previous concussion was wearing a twenty-year-old football helmet when he was injured.
Children as young as 5 years old rely on football helmets to protect against head injury.
The widespread adoption of a voluntary industry standard for football helmet safety led to an 80-percent reduction in life-threatening subdural hematoma injuries.
The voluntary industry safety standard for football helmets does not specifically address concussion risk.
There is no voluntary industry safety standard specifically for youth football helmets worn by children, who have different physiological characteristics from adults in terms of head size and neck strength, especially those who are younger than 12 years old.
Some football helmet manufacturers and resellers have used misleading concussion safety claims to sell children’s football helmets.
Some used helmet reconditioners have falsely certified that reconditioned helmets provided to schools and youth football teams met voluntary industry safety standards.
Used helmet reconditioners do not independently test reconditioned helmets before certifying that they meet voluntary industry safety standards.
The industry organization that sets voluntary football helmet safety standards does not conduct independent testing nor market surveillance to ensure compliance with such voluntary safety standards by manufacturers and reconditioners that certify new and used helmets to such standards.
Football helmet manufacturers and reconditioners place product warning labels underneath padding where the warning labels are obscured from view and not clearly legible.
The Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2051 et seq.) charges the Consumer Product Safety Commission with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from consumer products, including consumer products used in recreation and in schools.
The Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) empowers the Federal Trade Commission to prevent unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and prohibits the dissemination of misleading claims for devices or services.
Football helmet safety standards
Voluntary Standard Determination
Within 9 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Consumer Product Safety Commission shall determine, with respect to a standard or standards submitted by a voluntary standards-setting organization regarding youth football helmets, reconditioned football helmets, and new football helmet concussion resistance (if feasible) whether—
compliance with the standard or standards is likely to result in the elimination or adequate reduction of the risk of injury in connection with the use of football helmets;
it is likely that there will be substantial compliance with the standard or standards; and
the standard or
standards are maintained by a standards-setting organization that meets the
requirements of the document
ANSI Essential Requirements: Due Process
Requirements for American National Standards published in January 2010
by the American National Standards Institute (or any successor
Consumer Product Safety Standard
Unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission makes an affirmative determination with respect to a standard or standards under subsection (a) that addresses the matters to which the following standards would apply, the Commission shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding for the development of a consumer product safety rule with respect to the following:
Youth football helmets
A standard for youth football helmets which is informed by children’s different physiological characteristics from adults in terms of head size and neck strength.
Reconditioned football helmets
A standard for all reconditioned football helmets.
New football helmet concussion resistance
A standard for all new football helmets that addresses concussion risk, if the Commission determines that such a standard is feasible given current understanding of concussion risk and how helmets can prevent concussion.
Football helmet warning labels
A standard for warning labels on all football helmets that, at a minimum, requires clearly legible and fully visible statements warning consumers of the limits of protection afforded by the helmet. This standard may include requirements for pictograms, instructions, guidelines, or other cautions to consumers about injury risk and the proper use of football helmets.
Date of manufacture label for new football helmets
A standard for a clearly legible and fully visible label on all new football helmets stating the football helmet’s original date of manufacture and warning consumers that a football helmet’s ability to protect the wearer can decline over time.
Date of reconditioning label for reconditioned helmets
A standard for a clearly legible and fully visible label on all reconditioned football helmets stating the helmet’s last date of reconditioning, its original date of manufacture, and warning consumers that a football helmet’s ability to protect the wearer can decline over time, despite being properly and regularly reconditioned.
The Commission shall—
in consultation with representatives of coaches, consumer groups, engineers, medical experts, school sports directors, scientists, and sports equipment standard-setting organizations, examine and assess the effectiveness of any voluntary consumer product safety standards for youth football helmets, reconditioned football helmets, and new football helmet concussion resistance proposed by a voluntary standards-setting organization; and
in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, promulgate consumer product safety standards that—
are substantially the same as such voluntary standards; or
are more stringent than such voluntary standards, if the Commission determines that more stringent standards would further reduce the risk of injury associated with football helmets.
Timetable for rulemaking
If the Commission does not make an affirmative determination under subsection (a) within the 9-month period, the Commission shall commence the rulemaking required by subsection (b) within 30 days after the end of that 9-month period. The Commission shall periodically review and revise the standards set forth in the consumer product safety rule prescribed pursuant to that proceeding to ensure that such standards provide the highest level of safety for football helmets that is feasible.
Application of third-party testing and certification requirements to youth football helmets
The third-party testing and certification requirements of section 14(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2063(a)(2)) shall apply to any youth football helmet (including a reconditioned youth football helmet) to which any consumer product safety rule prescribed under section 3(b) of this Act applies as if the helmet were a children’s product that is subject to a children’s product safety rule without regard to the age of the individual for whom it is primarily designed or intended.
Special Application of Definition of Children’s Product for Purposes of Testing and Certification of Football Helmets
For the exclusive purpose of
applying the definition of the term children’s product in section
3(a)(2) of the Consumer Product Safety
Act (15 U.S.C. 2052(a)(2)) to the requirements of subsection (a) of
18 years shall be substituted for
years each place it appears.
For the purposes of this section, third-party testing and certification shall be conducted by a testing laboratory that has an accreditation—
that meets International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission standard 17025:2005 entitled General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories (or any successor standard that is from an accreditation body that is signatory to the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation for testing accreditation);
that meets International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission Guide 65:1996 entitled General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Systems (or any successor standard that is from an accreditation body that is signatory to the International Accreditation Forum for product certification accreditation); and
that includes all appropriate football helmet standards and test methods within the scope of the accreditation.
False or misleading claims with respect to athletic sporting activity goods
It is unlawful for any person to sell, or offer for sale, in interstate commerce, or import into the United States for the purpose of selling or offering for sale, any item of equipment intended, designed, or offered for use by an individual engaged in any athletic sporting activity, whether professional or amateur, for which the seller or importer, or any person acting on behalf of the seller or importer, makes any false or misleading claim with respect to the safety benefits of such item.
Enforcement by Federal Trade Commission
Violation of subsection (a), or any regulation prescribed under this section, shall be treated as a violation of a rule under section 18 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce this Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this Act.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commission may promulgate such regulations as it finds necessary or appropriate under this Act under section 553 of title 5, United States Code.
Any person who violates subsection (a) or any regulation prescribed under that section, shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated in and made part of this Act.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the authority of the Commission under any other provision of law.
Enforcement by State Attorneys General
Right of action
Except as provided in paragraph (5), the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, alleging a violation of subsection (a) or any regulation issued under that section that affects or may affect such State or its residents may bring an action on behalf of the residents of the State in any United States district court for the district in which the defendant is found, resides, or transacts business, or wherever venue is proper under section 1391 of title 28, United States Code, to obtain appropriate injunctive relief.
Initiation of civil action
A State shall provide prior written notice to the Federal Trade Commission of any civil action under paragraph (1) together with a copy of its complaint, except that if it is not feasible for the State to provide such prior notice, the State shall provide such notice immediately upon instituting such action.
Intervention by the commission
The Commission may intervene in such civil action and upon intervening—
be heard on all matters arising in such civil action; and
file petitions for appeal of a decision in such civil action.
Nothing in this section shall be construed—
to prevent the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general, or other authorized State officer, by the laws of such State; or
to prohibit the attorney general of a State, or other authorized State officer, from proceeding in State or Federal court on the basis of an alleged violation of any civil or criminal statute of that State.
No separate suit shall be brought under this subsection if, at the time the suit is brought, the same alleged violation is the subject of a pending action by the Federal Trade Commission or the United States under this section.