Thursday, May 29, 2014

Head Games: White House Will Tackle Issue of Concussions Today

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 9:23 AM

With thousands of the nation's children and young adults getting set to strap on helmets again this summer in preparation for what has become the new national pastime, the White House today will host a summit on sports-related concussions.

The National Research Council said in 2013 that there was a startling lack of data on concussions—especially in youth sports—as well as a "culture of resistance" among those athletes who avoid self-reporting concussions.

In October 2012, Boise Weekly examined the burgeoning problem, particularly among football players, by talking with Idaho football coaches in the high-school and college ranks.

"My son got two concussions in eighth grade. He finished the season and hasn't played in the last two years since," said Marc Paul, Boise State University's assistant director for sports medicine. "As a dad that loves the sport—and I see so many good things about it—I would love to see him play because of how much he loved it before he got hurt."

A new law, passed by the 2012 Idaho Legislature, states that if an athlete younger than 18 years old "has sustained a concussion or head injury and exhibits outward signs or symptoms of such ... then the youth athlete shall be removed from play." The athlete will only be allowed to return to play once he or she is "evaluated and authorized to return by a qualified health care professional who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions."

And now, the NCAA, in partnership with the Pentagon, has agreed to a new $30 million study to look at concussion risks, treatment and management. Additionally, $25 million from the NFL will help promote youth sports safety, and a new National Institutes of Health project intends to measure the effects of repetitive concussions.

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