Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced the Public Safety Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury Health Act to help support public safety officers who suffer concussions and brain injuries in the line of duty.
“Law enforcement officers put themselves in harm’s way every day, and I’m working to ensure we can diagnose and treat those who are hurt in the line of duty,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Far too often, traumatic brain injuries go undiagnosed and can have harmful effects on officers’ memory, concentration, and overall quality of life. Our bipartisan bill is a critical first step in ensuring that the men and women who keep our communities safe get the treatment and support they deserve.”
“Every day, first responders risk their safety when responding to criminal activity, traffic incidents, natural disasters, and other dangerous situations in the line of duty,” said Senator Cornyn. “Given that brain injuries can often go undetected in public safety professions, our bill would help ensure public safety officers have access to the information they need to identify an injury, seek treatment, and navigate the potential effects of these injuries on their quality of life.”
Traumatic brain injuries can lead to serious issues, including difficulties with memory, concentration, and communication. Concussions are considered a mild traumatic brain injury, which is usually temporary but can take months to heal. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains a website that provides data on traumatic brain injuries, where to get help, research and reports, and specific resources for health care providers. The Public Safety Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injury Health Act would require the agency to collect and make publicly available information on traumatic brain injuries specifically for public safety officers and provide recommendations and protocols for identifying, treating, and diagnosing concussions. It would also require the CDC to disseminate information to mental health professionals on the connection between traumatic brain injuries and stress disorders and suicidal inclinations.
The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.). This legislation is endorsed by the National Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), and NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association.
As the former top law enforcement official in Nevada, Senator Cortez Masto has been a leading advocate in the Senate for public safety. In 2022, she led the call for robust funding for the Byrne JAG grant program, the leading source of criminal justice funding for state, local, and tribal governments supporting crime prevention, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, and mental and behavioral health programs. Her bipartisan bills to combat the crisis of law enforcement suicide and provide mental health resources to police officers were both signed into law.