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President Obama Calls for More Research Regarding Concussions in Young People

First Posted: May 30, 2014 12:38 PM EDT
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Concussions have been of ongoing in-depth discussions as of late ever since current and former NFL football players reported recurring and serious symptoms. As a result, many parents have been hesitant to allow their children play contact sports.

On Thursday, President Obama called for more "robust research" into youth concussions due to uncertainty regarding the long-term impacts of such injuries on young people. He made the request during a daylong summit on concussions at the White House.

The President hosted the "White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit" on Thursday, which included the attendance of young athletes, parents, coaches, academics, experts, military servicemembers, as well as others who have studied concussions. The NFL, NCAA, and NIH were present for the summit.

"We want our kids participating in sports," said Obama on Thursday, via this ESPN news article. "As parents, though, we want to keep them safe and that means we have to have better information. We have to change a culture that says, 'Suck it up.'"

Earlier this month, ClearedToPlay.org, a non-profit organization that raises awareness about concussions, released a report that found 15.8% of youth football players who sustain a concussion severe enough to cause loss of consciousness actually return to play that same day. Over 400,000 high school athletes suffered concussions during the 2008-2009 school year. A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics found that emotional and mental symptoms of a concussion (especially suffered in youths) are likely to linger and resurface even after the physical symptoms have subsided.

The President voiced his concern over the issue to the 200-plus attendees, but also noted that participation in sports is essential in order to curb the obesity rate among youths in the United States. The White House summit also acknowledged ongoing studies for concussions, including a National Institutes of Health study that is examining the chronic effects of repetitive concussions; a ULCA-led study funded by New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch that will study sports concussion prevention; and an Institute of Medicine program that aims to answer questions about the risks of youth sports.

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