President Obama hosts summit on concussions, youth athletes


by KING 5 HealthLink

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 5:58 PM

The White House hosted a summit on concussions to raise awareness about youth athletes and brain health. Attendees ranged from brain injury experts to parents to coaches and athletes.

President Obama revealed he may have suffered a few undiagnosed concussions as a young football player. He has also said  in the past that he would need to think "long and hard" before allowing a son to play tackle football, which is a concern echoed in many families across the U.S.

But, he added that concussions are not limited to football players. He said that boys and girls are getting concussions every season during lacrosse, soccer, wrestling and ice hockey games.

MORE: Concussion law inspired by Wash. teen passed in all 50 states

"We have to change a culture that says 'you suck it up,'" said Obama.

The administration also announced several multi-million dollar public and private commitments for research and opportunities to promote safety in the future.

Kelsey Dugger, a basketball player who suffered from a concussion, shared her story of falling hard during a game.

"I don't remember anything else until waking up in the hospital with ice packs and just waking up with a really bad headache," said Dugger.

It took more than a month for her to feel "normal again."

Government reports show nearly 250,000 kids and young adults go to emergency rooms each year with sports-related concussions and head injuries.

Pediatric neuro-psychologist Dr. Gerard Gioia said it appears kids' brains can heal completely after a concussion. But, the effect of repeated blows to the head is still a mystery.

"What we don't know is for some individuals, there is though a more lasting effect of these injuries and that's where our research really needs to go," said Gioia.