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New concussion rules do not go far enough

As chairman of the Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council and immediate past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State, I am very disappointed in the compromises reached to pass some sort of concussion management legislation in New York. The bill passed fails to incorporate the important recommendations of the council concerning mandatory base-line testing; fails to mandate a consistent concussion management program; fails to protect athletes involved in organized sports outside the school setting; fails to provide uniform and meaningful protection for children throughout the state; fails to address the need for medical insurance coverage for those who are injured; and fails to address penalties for the failure to comply.

I'm fearful that the minimum protections in the act will become the de facto standard and cause further unnecessary preventable injuries. The arbitrary 24-hour period set before a child can return to play provides a false sense of protection, because proper testing is not mandated and there is no requirement that the medical clearance come from a doctor with experience in treating head injuries. A minimum return to play protocol should be at least one week.

Given the life-threatening and lifelong consequences that can develop following a concussion, as well as the large number of our children who are sustaining concussions while engaged in sporting activities and all of the medical information currently available, the state clearly could and should do more to protect its youth.

Michael Kaplen

Pleasantville

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Paladino is proud of military service

I was commissioned from ROTC as a reserve officer in the U.S. Army on June 21, 1968, as a second lieutenant. I received a deferment for law school and entered active duty on Aug. 5, 1971, with a two-year active-duty obligation. My orders were Fort Bliss, Texas, for three months for training and then Fort Lewis, Wash., (Vietnam).

Insofar as I was the ranking first lieutenant in my class of about 100 regular and reserve officers in advanced training for air defense artillery, I was appointed commander of my class. My son was born at Fort Bliss Major Beaumont Hospital on Sept. 23, 1971. Two days later, I read the morning report to my class, which included a Department of Defense letter stating that the Army was "riffing" officers because the war in Vietnam was winding down and that all reserve officers would receive new orders calling for three months of active duty for advanced training and six years in the Reserves.

I joined the Army 98th Reserve Division and was based in Amherst, served for approximately 10 years and retired honorably as a captain. Every year, we had a two-week active-duty requirement at Fort Dix, where we took basic-training companies of approximately 250 men for two of the six-week basic-training cycle and trained them. In that capacity, I served as training officer, executive officer or commanding officer. I also at times served as duty officer for the entire base of Fort Dix and my battalion.

I am proud of my military service. I have never stated or represented anything but the above. I have no idea what Wikipedia is or where it received its information. I could not care less what some "retired senior officer" at Fort Bliss has to say. Obviously he knows nothing about the issue or is brain dead.

Carl Paladino

Buffalo

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Man who molested child deserves a life sentence

I had to read a recent News article three times to be sure I had read it correctly. Phillip T. Young, a registered sex offender who lied to get a job as a youth counselor and was spared jail on two previous sex crimes, was given 16 years in prison for repeatedly molesting a child, yet was spared a life sentence! How is this possible?

His court-appointed lawyer "hopes" Young can get psychiatric help in state prison. Wishful thinking. Every person who was involved in not committing this monster back in 1995 and 2001 should be held responsible for his repeated actions. The judge in this case had every reason to impose a life sentence, but didn't.

The children who are forever emotionally and mentally scarred are most affected, yet least thought about. Instances like this show that the laws need to be re-evaluated and changed to benefit the victim, not the abuser.

People who commit lesser, victimless crimes are sentenced to longer terms. The worst part is it happens more than we know, and it's sickening. Justice has not been served.

Nicole Celotto

Town of Tonawanda

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GOP loses credibility on health care reform

In the early days of the health care debate, Republicans labeled Obamacare as a "government takeover of health care." Anyone who knows anything about the Affordable Care Act of 2010 knows it's the exact opposite. Private insurance companies will (and do) insure Americans, not the government.

The Republicans knew this, of course, but they needed a way to convince the public that the plan was bad. In early 2009, they turned to Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant who helps clients turn public opinion against issues or candidates. He coined the "government takeover" lie that Rep. Paul Ryan and the Republicans continue to use to this day.

When Republicans continue this disingenuous rhetoric, they lose credibility. Ryan's "Roadmap For America's Future" becomes a yellow brick road to Oz.

Errol Daniels

East Amherst

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Bills ought to prohibit beer sales during games

While I understand the health risks with the Bills' decision to ban smoking, why stop here? Beer sales and tailgating have been major headaches for security and the Orchard Park Police, so this should be outlawed also. Football should be the main focus on Sunday, not fighting and unruly drunks.

Marty Farrell

West Seneca

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State Senate should extend fracking ban

Those who read the Another Voice on June 10 and share Robert Ciesielski's concern about the problems hydrofracking may cause to water supplies can do something right now. The moratorium on fracking expires this summer. As you may know, the Assembly passed a bill last week to extend the ban for one year. Now it must pass the State Senate before the Legislature closes.

Use your quickest form of communication to urge your state senator to insist that the vote be taken, and then to vote for this prudent protection of our water.

Barbara Williams

Wellsville