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White House - Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit

I am honored to be invited to attend the president’s Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit tomorrow at the White House.

The goals of the White House Summit on sports concussions scheduled for May 29th must embrace a uniform national protocol to comprehensively tackle the issues related to sports concussion management. This is critical to avoid preventable brain injuries and manage the brain injuries that will unfortunately but inevitably occur.  Though many coaches and parents fear the over-protective label, they have justification for their safety concerns.

Sport related concussions have multiplied to epidemic levels.  The Centers for Disease Control report almost 250,000 brain injury related emergency department visits each year by children and adolescents. The CDC has cautioned that this frightening statistic is a vast underrepresentation. The available data is limited to organized sports, omitting visits to private physicians, cases where traumatic brain injury is not the principal diagnosis and concussions that remain undiagnosed altogether.  In extrapolating, the CDC estimates a more accurate approximation is between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports related traumatic brain injuries each year.  Unbelievable but true, this is a public health crisis that commands action on a federal level.  

Yes, concussions happen. It is part of the game, but we must implement initiatives to reduce the risk of injury, and prevent, preventable injuries.  This national summit on the public health crisis of sports related brain injury and proposing meaningful safety standards is an important move in the right direction.

 

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