The White House recently held a daylong summit about sports and concussions with 200 attendees, which included representatives of professional sports leagues, coaches, parents, young athletes, medical professionals, researchers, and members of Congress. The goal of the summit was to raise awareness about traumatic brain injuries and concussions. President Obama opened the summit with a speech (http://www.thewhitehousesays.com/comments/1205716). In his speech, President Obama cited data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that suggested approximately 250,000 youths make emergency room visits annually because of brain injuries sustained while engaging in sports.
The president highlighted involvement by private partners (such as the NCAA and NFL) and the federal government (Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Institute of Health) to promote sports safety and research on concussions. He mentioned the possibility of developing testing for susceptibility to concussions in the future. During the summit, a panel discussion was held to discuss ways to prevent, recognize, and treat concussions and educate healthcare professionals and the general public.
pgEd explores the issue of genetics and athletics in its lesson plan here. We explore the role genetics may play in susceptibility to concussions, a possible link to Alzheimer’s Disease, and related ethical issues. Resources for physicians and the general public including parents, schools, and youth coaches about concussion prevention and statistics regarding brain injuries can be found through the CDC’s “Heads up” Program (http://www.cdc.gov/Concussion/) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM)(http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2013/Sports-Related-Concussions-in-Youth-Improving-the-Science-Changing-the-Culture.aspx).