Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced a bill this week to provide local law enforcement agencies with the ability to establish standard protocols for addressing concussions and traumatic brain injuries suffered by first responders.
The Public Safety Officer Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury Health Act would direct the CDC to expand current data collection efforts on TBIs and concussions to include data on injuries suffered by law enforcement officers. The agency would then provide guidelines for identifying and treating those brain injuries, while also disseminating information to mental health professionals. This would aid researchers who study the connection between concussions and traumatic brain injuries with acute stress disorders and suicidal inclinations.
“Every year, tens of thousands of first responders suffer from concussions and traumatic brain injuries,” Rep. Crenshaw said. “These officers suffer injuries while serving their communities – we should have protocols in place, just like professional sports teams, to protect them and ensure a supportive path to healing. We owe it to those who put their lives on the line every day.”
“Every day, our first responders put their lives on the line to help protect our communities – and we should be doing everything we can to ensure their safety and wellbeing,” said Rep. Craig. “Today, I’m joining my colleague Rep. Crenshaw to introduce our bipartisan bill to ensure local law enforcement agencies have the ability to safely and effectively treat and address concussions and traumatic brain injuries suffered by first responders.”
The legislation is supported by law enforcement groups across the country, including the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.
"Law enforcement officers are in harm’s way each and every day. Too many officers suffer physical injuries in the line of duty—whether it’s while making an arrest, responding to a car crash, or being attacked by an assailant," said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. "While many of the injuries they sustain are identifiable and medically treated, internal injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injury (TBI) may go unnoticed or undiagnosed. Injuries like this can lead to difficulties with memory, concentration, communication, and other serious medical issues...We believe that this is an important first step in addressing the issue of the long-term impact on the lives and health that concussions and TBIs have in the public safety community."
Reps. Crenshaw and Craig are introducing the House companion bill to the bipartisan Senate bill, sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn and Cortez-Masto.
Read the full bill here.