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President highlights risk of head injuries in youth sports

Today President Obama hosted a conference highlighting the risks of head injuries to young athletes in an effort to promote awareness of the problem. The Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit included researchers, professional athletes, parents, coaches, league officials, and sportscasters.

USA Today reported President Obama told those at the conference that there are no “solid numbers” on the extent of the concussion problem in football and other contact sports. “We need to have better research, better data, better safety equipment, and better protocols.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability in the United States. A concussion, which is common in many sports, is a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works.

CBS News reported that the number of children admitted to emergency rooms for sports-related head injuries has sky rocked by more than 90% in the past decade. The report stated that concussions have become a major concern as more research comes out linking head blows to health problems later in life.

Officials at the White House said that the goal of the President’s conference was to use the power of the presidency to accelerate progress on one of the most serious health issues to confront sports in a decade. Awareness of the long-run health affects of concussions in sports has jumped in recent years, particularly in football. Today’s event spotlighted several initiatives to study head injuries in sports and also discussed the launch of a $30 million study of ways to reduce concussions in sports and the military.

In an article published by the New Yorker last year, President Obama when asked about the news of NFL players suffering from early onset dementia and other long-term effects of brain injuries in sports, was quoted as saying “I would not allow my son to play pro football.”

A recent report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council revealed big gaps in what is known about the risk of concussion in youth sports, especially for athletes who play before they reach high school age. Typically, youth athletes recover from a concussion within two weeks, but in 10 to 20 percent of cases, symptoms may persist for weeks or event months. A second blow to the head before full recovery can be extremely dangerous. The report also found that youths who have already had a concussion are at a higher risk for subsequent ones.

In August, the NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit by thousands of former players, many suffering from illness brought on by head injuries. The players accused the league of hiding the dangers of brain injury while profiting from the violent sport.

If you need to speak to a lawyer regarding a sports-related injury, call the Pennsylvania personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys at 855-866-5529 or visit www.munley.com.

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