H. R. 1127
To encourage and ensure the use of safe football helmets and for
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
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Children's Sports Athletic
Equipment Safety Act'.
(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
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
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds the following:
(1) Participation in sports and athletic activities provides many benefits
to children and should be encouraged.
(2) Participation in sports and athletic activities does involve some inevitable
risk of injury that no protective gear or safety device can fully eliminate.
(3) Sports-related concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury that can
lead to lasting negative health consequences.
(4) 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.
(5) Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury for Americans
who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle crashes.
(6) Every year, American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3,800,000 sports-related
(7) The potential for catastrophic injury resulting from multiple concussions
make sports-related concussion a significant concern for young athletes,
coaches, and parents.
(8) Football has the highest incidence of concussions, which also occur
in many other sports such as baseball, basketball, ice hockey, lacrosse,
soccer, and softball.
(9) An estimated 4,500,000 children play football in organized youth and
school sports leagues, including approximately 1,500,000 high school players.
(10) 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.
(11) In any given football season, 20 percent of all high school football
players sustain brain injuries.
(12) 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.
(13) 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.
(14) 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
(15) 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.
(16) 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.
(17) Children as young as 5 years old rely on football helmets to protect
against head injury.
(18) The widespread adoption of a voluntary industry standard for football
helmet safety led to an 80-percent reduction in life-threatening subdural
(19) The voluntary industry safety standard for football helmets does not
specifically address concussion risk.
(20) 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.
(21) Some football helmet manufacturers and resellers have used misleading
concussion safety claims to sell children's football helmets.
(22) Some used helmet reconditioners have falsely certified that reconditioned
helmets provided to schools and youth football teams met voluntary industry
(23) Used helmet reconditioners do not independently test reconditioned
helmets before certifying that they meet voluntary industry safety standards.
(24) 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.
(25) Football helmet manufacturers and reconditioners place product warning
labels underneath padding where the warning labels are obscured from view
and not clearly legible.
(26) 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.
(27) 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.
SEC. 3. FOOTBALL HELMET SAFETY STANDARDS.
(a) 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--
(1) 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;
(2) it is likely that there will be substantial compliance with the standard
or standards; and
(3) 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 document).
(b) 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:
(1) 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.
(2) RECONDITIONED FOOTBALL HELMETS- A standard for all reconditioned football
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) 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
(6) 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
(1) IN GENERAL- The Commission shall--
(A) 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
(B) in accordance with section 553 of title 5, United States Code, promulgate
consumer product safety standards that--
(i) are substantially the same as such voluntary standards; or
(ii) 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.
(2) 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.
SEC. 4. APPLICATION OF THIRD-PARTY TESTING AND CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
TO YOUTH FOOTBALL HELMETS.
(a) In General- 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.
(b) 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 this section, `18 years' shall be substituted for `12
years' each place it appears.
(c) For the purposes of this section, third-party testing and certification
shall be conducted by a testing laboratory that has an accreditation--
(1) 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);
(2) 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
(3) that includes all appropriate football helmet standards and test methods
within the scope of the accreditation.
SEC. 5. FALSE OR MISLEADING CLAIMS WITH RESPECT TO ATHLETIC SPORTING ACTIVITY
(a) In General- 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.
(b) Enforcement by Federal Trade Commission-
(1) IN GENERAL- 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.
(2) REGULATIONS- 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.
(3) PENALTIES- 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.
(4) AUTHORITY PRESERVED- Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit
the authority of the Commission under any other provision of law.
(c) Enforcement by State Attorneys General-
(1) 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.
(2) 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.
(3) INTERVENTION BY THE COMMISSION- The Commission may intervene in such
civil action and upon intervening--
(A) be heard on all matters arising in such civil action; and
(B) file petitions for appeal of a decision in such civil action.
(4) CONSTRUCTION- Nothing in this section shall be construed--
(A) 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
(B) 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.
(5) LIMITATION- 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.