Include Concussion Clauses in Anti-hazing Legislation
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Concussions can kill. And yet teenagers and young adults continue to encourage each other to drink until they pass out, making them extremely vulnerable to concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). This practice is particularly prevalent during the fraternity hazing process. This needs to stop!
Most of us are aware of the tragic death of Tim Piazza the Penn State Student who sustained multiple traumatic brain injuries during a fraternity hazing event. This case exemplifies the horrific consequences of not taking necessary medical action immediately. Students NEED to understand what may seem like a mild head injury can in fact lead to long-term complications and even death.
In our family, my 19 year old son Alasdair devastatingly died on April 1, 2017. Alasdair had tragically suffered a concussion at a fraternity event which went unreported and, therefore, he did not receive adequate and appropriate medical attention. After the concussion there were drastic changes in Alasdair’s personality, emotional stability and physical health, all of which are symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury. Alasdair died two weeks before he was supposed to leave to climb Mount Everest in an attempt to break a world record. He was an amazing young man and his untimely, unnecessary death is devastating for everyone that knew him. All of this has led my daughter and me to support the new legislation being introduced in Congress regarding hazing practices; however, we want this legislation to include specific CONCUSSION CLAUSES.
In June 2017 Congresswoman Fudge (D-Oh.) and Congressman Meehan (R-Pa.) introduced the long overdue Report and Educate About Campus Hazing (REACH) Legislation. We applaud their bipartisan efforts since this bill is designed to challenge the practice of hazing through accountability, transparency and education. However, we firmly believe this legislation should include three additional “CONCUSSION CLAUSES”. They are as follows:
1. All medically diagnosed concussions and/or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) which occur during fraternity or sorority hazing must be specifically disclosed and reported in the universities’ Hazing Reports.
2. Specific information about concussions and TBIs should be included in the education requirements for students and staff members as part of the REACH Legislation to further reduce risky behavior.
3. Fraternity and sorority guidelines should include specific details about penalties for not reporting concussions or TBIs to the university such as immediate probation for the institution. Currently many universities have guidelines requiring the reporting of injuries which occur during hazing and fraternity events but the penalties are not severe enough to deter the behavior.
We believe that these additional CONCUSSION CLAUSES could substantially increase the positive effect of this legislation and hopefully prevent the needless loss of another student. Please sign this petition addressed to Congresswoman Fudge and Congressman Meehan to amend the REACH Legislation.
Go on, let’s save some lives together.
Kathleen and Lindsay Russell
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