To encourage and ensure the use of safe football helmets and
for other purposes.
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
March 16, 2011
Mr. UDALL of New Mexico (for himself, Mr. LAUTENBERG, and Mr. BLUMENTHAL)
introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to
the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
To encourage and ensure the use of safe football helmets and
for other purposes.
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
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
(5) Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury
for Americans who are 15 to 24 years old, behind only motor vehicle
(6) Every year, American athletes suffer up to an estimated 3,800,000
(7) The potential for catastrophic injury resulting from multiple
concussions makes sports-related concussions 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
(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
(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 of manufacture.
(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 20-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 hematoma injuries.
(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 safety standards.
(23) Used helmet reconditioners do not independently test reconditioned
helmets before certifying that they meet voluntary industry safety
(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
(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
(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 time.
(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 reconditioned.
(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
(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
(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);
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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.