Amid growing concern about brain injuries that cause about 250,000 emergency room visits by young athletes annually, the White House will convene the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit on Thursday.
More than 200 participants, including the National Football League, professional athletes and the Pentagon, will discuss what can be done to help educate parents and athletes on how to better prevent concussions and protect athletes’ brains, according to a White House statement.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the summit came from conversations he and President Barack Obama had regarding the concerns parents had about concussions.
“As parents tend to do, we talk about our kids, and we talk a lot about sports,” Carney said.
The White House will announce initiatives on Thursday, including an effort to help start a national concussion database through the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a $30 million partnership between the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Department of Defense to fund the most comprehensive clinical study of concussions among college athletes, the statement said.
The NFL will commit $25 million to work with the National Athletic Trainers Association to get more athletic trainers in high schools. Currently, about half of all high schools have no athletic trainers on their sidelines.
Dr. David Dodick of the Mayo Clinic told CNN the summit will focus unprecedented attention on the issue of concussions and youth athletes.
“It really highlights this as a public health crisis, and elevates this to a national health priority,” he said.