HONOLULU (KHON2) - It's a phenomenon state Sen. Josh Green says is sweeping the nation.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a brain injury from repeated concussions that some NFL players are afflicted with.
But now, Green says, adults as young as 18 are being diagnosed.
"We're seeing the science really tell us new stories," Green said. "Multiple injuries at any level at the developmental stage are dangerous. If a child gets a concussion the first time, they're four times as likely to suffer a second concussion, and it's those multiple concussions that cause brain injury."
Green, also an emergency room physician, says CTE can affect how an adolescent thinks or learns.
While the state has done research into concussions and high school athletes, Green wants to expand the program by adding at least $1.5 million for research and resources into child athletes as young as 8 years old.
"That's when we see kids get really intensely involved in sports. That's the start on the soccer level and club sports," he explained. "It's just enough to have a couple injuries that can cause CTE and that's what we want to avoid for all of our children."
The research would be a collaboration between the Department of Education and health experts.
"Hawaii's families deserve to know exactly what the risk is. They deserve to know where their child is as far as profile of risk is," said Green.
The proposal passed through the Senate.
It will next be heard in front of the House Committee on Health and Human Services on Tuesday, March 13, at 8:30 a.m. in conference room 329.