New Jersey members of Congress are introducing legislation called the Safe Play Act in an effort to protect child athletes from concussions, cardiac arrests and heat-related sports injuries.

"We're talking about our children here and most of the time they're not protected in the sports that they do," said bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr., N.J. 9th District.

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.,  added that "athletics are a key part of childhood and we want our children to participate in sports, compete, play and have fun, but we also want them to be safe.

"Young athletes and their parents must be assured that there are properly trained coaches, teachers, trainers and other personnel on the sidelines who are ready and equipped to respond to an injury or health emergency.”

The comprehensive bill addresses concussions, cardiac conditions, heat-related illnesses and FDA guidelines for energy drinks.

One part of the "Safe Play Act" would require the CDC and the Federal Education Department to develop emergency action plans for youth athletics. Some of the other provisions in the bill:

• Authorizing grants for educational agencies and schools to purchase AEDs and implement CPR and AED training courses.

• Requiring educational agencies to develop and implement concussion safety action plans.

• Directing the Federal Drug Administration and CDC to develop and disseminate guidelines about safe energy drink consumption for youth athletes.

• Directing the CDC to expand research on the safety of youth athletes, and to report findings to Congress.

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