Last week, the White House hosted a summit on the huge problem we have in this country of our children being seriously hurt and sometimes permanently disabled, or even killed, from traumatic brain injuries and concussions they have suffered while playing school sports. This was not a discussion of the concussion injuries and long-term harm that professional football players have experienced, nor was the focus on those pro players who have filed lawsuits or have announced they are suing the NFL for head injuries resulting from playing pro football.
The focus of this gathering was upon children — kids from Pop Warner age to college level who are practicing and playing sports with their school teams, church teams, or community clubs, where head injuries and concussions are a real and present danger.
For background on this epidemic, check out our earlier posts on this issue, including:
- High School Football: Brain Injury Even If No Severe Concussion Reported – Is Your Child At Risk?
- NFL Helmet Concussion Settlement Finalized: School Football and College Team Helmet Concussion Injuries Still a Serious Danger in 2014
- Football Helmet to Helmet Concussions Killing Kids: Young Athletes’ Deaths Serve as Warning of The Real Danger of Fatal Football Head Injuries
- Brain Injuries to Kids and Teens From TBI Concussions Suffered While Playing Football, Hockey: Sports Helmets Do Not Prevent Permanent Injury to Brain
White House Summit Had 200 Participants – From NCAA and NFL to Parents and Kids
Held on May 29, 2014, as the “Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit,” President Obama hosted an event where medical experts as well as coaches, parents, student athletes, and other interested parties came together to consider the seriousness of the problem facing America’s youth today and how best to fight against the dangers of sports concussions in school-age sports. Representatives from the National Football League (NFL); the NFL Players Association; the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); Major League Soccer (MLS); and the U.S. Soccer Federation were present.
Part of the summit involved a group-wide consideration of the findings in last fall’s research report published by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, entitled, “Sports-Related Concussions in Youth: Improving the Science, Changing the Culture,” by the Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth Board on Children, Youth, and Families.
From that study came the following hint that ultimately, we may see federal legislation on this issue to provide uniformity in protecting minors from these kinds of sports injuries:
“Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn from the experiences of these states, with similar legislation being broadly implemented across the country there is ample opportunity for impact analysis and evaluation. Ultimately, as educators, advocates, providers, parents, and researchers all learn from one another about what works best in terms of legislation, a set of model provisions may be identified that can then be applied with uniformity, minimizing state-to-state variability and objectively informing policy makers as they move forward in dealing with youth concussions.”
Report, p. 248
Over 200 participants gathered to discuss how best to protect against school-age athlete head injuries as well as how to treat and minimize the harm that results from young brains being hurt and possibly damaged as a result of injuries sustained during play.
The President believes we can and must do better and the Administration is committed to helping ensure that children continue to be active and play sports safely. During this summit, the Administration will announce new commitments from both the public and private sectors to raise awareness among young athletes, parents, school administrators, clinicians, coaches, and youth sports programs about how to identify, treat, and prevent concussions, as well as to conduct additional research in the field of sports-related concussions that will help better address concussions among students.