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Chiropractors aren't qualified to check out youth athletes' brain injuries, House says

A widely backed proposal to curb concussions of youth athletes hit a time-consuming snag on the floor Thursday. The hold-up? Chiropractors.

An amended version of HB 301 emerged from its last committee stop with a revision allowing for chiropractors to be among physicians who can check for concussions on the sidelines of youth sporting events. But the sponsor, Rep. Ronald "Doc" Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, didn't want that. Chiropractors, he said, are not qualified to assess brain injuries.

So he presented an amendment on the House floor that removed chiropractors from the list of authorized physicians, which includes osteopathic physicians (which is Renuart's profession).

"I would not go to a podiatrist or a chiropractor or a dentist for a brain injury," he said.

The debate lasted more than 30 minutes. Chiropractic physician Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton, argued chiropractors trained to evaluate traumatic brain injuries are just as fit to check out dinged-up athletes. They must follow very strict protocols, he said. Joining him in pro-chiropractor solidarity was Rep. Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs.

Rep. John Tobia, R-Melbourne, said chiropractors should "be treating pains, certainly not brains."

Renuart's amendment passed on a voice vote, and his bill passed 118-0. Read more about the bill, backed by the NFL, and the boy who played a role in making it happen here.