White House to hold summit on youth sports and concussions

The White House will hold a summit on youth sports and concussions later this month, bringing together young athletes, academics, parents and others to raise awareness of head injuries among young people who play sports.

According to a White House official, the administration will announce new commitments by the public and private sectors to raise awareness among athletes, parents, coaches, schools and others on how to identify and treat concussions and to conduct research to help understand how sports-related concussions affect young athletes.

The White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit will take place May 29. According to the White House, Obama, an avid sports fan, wants to make sure that children can play sports safely and appreciates the role that sports play in the lives of young people.


File: President Obama greets members of the United States Naval Academy football team after presenting them the Commander-in-Chief Trophy in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington April 18, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The administration said Obama recognizes that making more people cognizant of head injuries and protecting student athletes from concussions requires a number of stakeholders, from trainers to military service members to researchers, to work together.

In a 2013 interview with The New Republic, Obama said if he had a son he would "have to think long and hard before I let him play football."

"And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to reduce some of the violence," he said. "In some cases that may make it a bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."

Obama said he was more concerned about college players getting concussions than NFL players, who are well-compensated grown men and have the protection of a union.

"You read some of these stories about college players who undergo some of these same problems with concussions and so forth and then have nothing to fall back on. That's something that I'd like to see the NCAA think about," Obama said.

The NFL has agreed to pay $765 million to settle claims over concussions, but a Philadelphia judge has not yet approved the deal, saying she is worried that the monetary figure is not large enough to cover 20,000 retired players.

 

Katie Zezima covers the White House for Post Politics and The Fix.
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