TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Paul A. Sarlo that would require children who wear prescription eyeglasses while participating in sports activities to wear protective eyewear was approved today by a vote of 30-7 in the Senate.
“When it comes to kids and sports, an eye injury is much different than a twisted ankle or pulled calf muscle; it can mean the difference between sitting out for a few games and permanent blindness,” said Senator Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex and Passaic. “Statistics show that protective eyewear helps prevent 90% of sports eye injuries. It only makes sense that we require young athletes to wear the protective eyewear.”
Senator Sarlo’s bill, S-1970, would require children who wear corrective glasses while participating in sports to wear protective eyewear that meets the frame standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) and the lens standards of the American National Standards Institute. The bill’s provisions would apply to children participating in school, community or government sponsored sports, including soccer, volleyball, basketball and field hockey. The bill would also authorize the New Jersey Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to provide assistance grants to low-income families to help them purchase the protective eyewear.
“By providing assistance grants this bill would help protect kids who wear glasses and want to play sports, but their families can’t afford to purchase the protective sports eyewear. It’s important that all children who want to play are able to play, and we will not allow financial need to serve as a barrier ,” Senator Sarlo said.