Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — A president who turns to sports to “relax and clear my head,” on Thursday took steps to ensure other Americans don’t hurt theirs.
Convening a first-ever White House summit on concussions, President Obama said there is growing concern among parents about the risks to their children in concussion-prone sports, like lacrosse, soccer, football and ice hockey.
“The total number of young people who are impacted by this early on is probably bigger than we know,” Obama said Thursday. “I say this not to scare people. We want our kids participating in sports. …As parents, though, we want to keep them safe, and that means we have to have better information. We have to know what these issues are. And the fact is we don’t have solid numbers, and that tells me that at every level we’re all still trying to fully grasp what’s going on with this issue.”
Obama announced several new public-private research efforts into the long-term effects of concussions on kids, including a $30 million joint longitudinal study by the NCAA and Pentagon.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 250,000 emergency room visits every year are from young people with potential concussions.
“Researchers are still learning about the causes and consequences of these injuries. Communities are wondering how young it is start tackle football, for example. Parents are wondering whether their kids are learning the right techniques or wearing the best safety equipment or whether they should…have their kids participate in any full-contact sports at all,” Obama said.
We are using “our convening power to help find some more answers,” he added.
The event brought together representatives of the NCAA, MLS, NHL, NFL as well as Little League, Under Armor and ESPN.
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