Obama: Sports concussions need more attention

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up."
Associated Press
May 29, 2014

 

Saying he wants kids to play sports but play safely, President Barack Obama called Thursday for more and better research into the effects and treatment of concussions in youth athletes. The issue is one of growing concern for parents who spend weekends driving their kids from one game to another.

But without direct authority over youth sports leagues, Obama's ability to address the issue meaningfully is limited to calling for research and trying to jumpstart a national conversation to teach parents, coaches and young athletes about concussions — the goal of a summit he hosted at the White House.

He also said a new attitude is needed where players who have been hit don't feel wimpy for sitting out a game or two.

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up," Obama said, adding that he probably suffered mild concussions as a young football player. He noted that concussions are also an issue in soccer, hockey, lacrosse and other contact sports.

The event brought together representatives of professional and college sports associations, coaches, parents, young athletes, doctors and others. The president was introduced by Victoria Bellucci, a high school graduate from Huntingtown, Maryland, who suffered five concussions during her high school and club soccer career.

Victoria said her injuries made it hard to focus on her assignments. She eventually turned down a full scholarship to play soccer at Towson University in Maryland and will instead attend Flagler College in Florida in the fall, the White House said.

"Concussions have drastically altered my life," she said.

Obama, an avid sports fan whose two daughters are active in sports, also highlighted millions of dollars in pledges from the NFL, the National Institutes of Health and others to conduct research that could begin to provide answers and improve safety.

"We want our kids participating in sports," he said. "As parents, though, we want to keep them safe."

Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, Obama said. He noted that the figure excludes those who see a family doctor or seek no treatment.

Obama previously had waded into the debate over concussions, saying last year that he'd have to think "long and hard" about allowing a son to play football because of the risk of head injury.

The NFL recently agreed to pay $765 million to settle concussion claims from thousands of former players whose complaints range from headaches to Alzheimer's disease. That settlement is still awaiting a judge's approval, while a group of former professional hockey players has filed a class-action lawsuit of their own against the NHL for head injuries sustained on the ice.

Among the financial pledges Obama highlighted is a $30 million joint research effort by the NCAA and Defense Department and an NFL commitment of $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety.

UCLA also will use $10 million from New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, who attended the summit, to launch a program to study sports concussion prevention, outreach, research and treatment for athletes of all ages, but especially youth. The money will also support planning for a national system to determine the incidence of youth sports concussions.

Panelists who discussed the issue after Obama spoke agreed that information and education are important. Otherwise, parents' fears about on-field safety could lead them to pull their kids from team sports, an outcome the panelists agreed would be harmful for young people because of the benefits of participation in athletics.

"Do you replace kicking a soccer ball with Doritos?" asked former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said he worries that without education "we walk away from sports." He said he would not have attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, "if not for sports."

Odierno participated in the summit because concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury, which has become a signature issue of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the widespread use by insurgents of improvised explosive devices.

Jack Crowe, a former head football coach at Jacksonville State University in Alabama, who was not on the panel, said after the summit that what's needed is a new climate that puts as much emphasis on safety as on winning.

Comments

There you go again

I agree, indeed, but can we just get some answers on the current scandals of this administration?

coasterfan

You mean the fake scandals that Republicans have invented?

YoMamma

We need to pusify America!

sugar

Obama is a weak, unmanly, wuss, he makes me nauseous.

2cents's picture
2cents

His photo here verifies your comment: )

JD's picture
JD

He needs to get the attention off the scandals

Donegan

You would think he wanted more of them in our society, Just look at Coaster, Big dog and others that still support this fool. Concussions are a bonus to the democrats.

coasterfan

I support Democrat politicians because they advocate the things that are important to me. I also prefer intelligent, well-spoken politicians like Obama, who can actually put a sentence together.

Bush needed to have press conference questions asked to him in a certain order, so that he could read the answers his staff typed up for him. It's also well-documented that Bush needed big words spelled out phonetically for him on his teleprompter.

So, yeah, I support Obama, as opposed to the undereducated simpletons that the GOP gives us...Palin, Bush, Perry, Bachmann, the list goes on and on, doesn't it?

Darwin's choice

You support democrats because thats what you're told to do. Troll!

obama/fail

Donegan

So you mean to tell me the guy who has visited all 57 states and could not order a glass of water without a teleprompter is intelligent? You support liars and thieves and aren't smart enough to realize that you even do so.
As I stated before they need more brain damaged voters such as yourself to be able to stay in office and your a prime example of why.

Darwin's choice

Jay Carney leaves the sinking ship!!!!

This is getting better every day!!

He was tired of lying!!

Contango

Re: "well-spoken politicians like Obama, who can actually put a sentence together."

Uh...you...ah.....like....er...well-spoken politicians like...uh...Obama, because they can...er...actually put a...ah...sentence together?

There is absolutely no comparison between Mr. Obama and someone with speaker training.

I

cfan, the fact that you and other dims are impressed by a smooth-talking snake oil salesman speaks volumes about you and your party...easily impressed, love to look at the shiny objects, short on substance.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

"Saying he wants kids to play sports but play safely," - Is there a group or law that is encouraging kids to play unsafely? Is there a coach's association that meets regularly to purposely misdirect kids and ensure they are injured?

"But without direct authority over youth sports leagues, Obama's ability to address the issue meaningfully is limited" - Oh, sooooo the President of the United States needs direct control and authority over every single sports event. This quote is most telling. If only he could control so many other aspects of life...

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up," - Again, where is this culture? When I played football and threw in track I never experienced this. Maybe my coaches weren't a part of this seemingly vast "culture" that is purposely wanting to injure kids?

"adding that he probably suffered mild concussions as a young football player" - Beyond making things about him at a youth summit on concussions this just seems...odd. Why would he say something like this? Either he had concussions or didn't. If he did, then what? Depending on how you view him he is an example of multiple-concussion suffers turning out a-ok or that his policy choices could only be decided upon by a beat-up brain. That's up to each of you. I suppose this is cover for Hillary Clinton as well? See? This is just such an awkward thing to say.

"Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, Obama said. He noted that the figure excludes those who see a family doctor or seek no treatment." - What is other recreational activity? How is this relevant when no context is given? You look at this number and think "That's a lot" (it is) but then you look at the fact that we have 320,000,000 people in our nation so wouldn't it actually seem to be a fairly unavoidable percentage that have accidents? So every year .0008% of the population has head-related accidents. I'm sorry to hear that even one does but we have to realize just how many people in our nation there are.

Overall the issue is important. The fact the President made it personal as a possible...quasi-victim?...was awkward. I certainly agree with those at the end of the story. It can be looked into and I would encourage safe play, but to just presume a culture of harm exists in the majority is false. The most disturbing line, even if written only by the reporter, was the lamenting that the President doesn't have total control over this. Frankly with the way so many other things are going (perhaps the scandals mentioned above) it is best that he not get his hands on this issue.

2cents's picture
2cents

"Is there a group or law that is encouraging kids to play unsafely?"

Tort law Hero, with this they have removed most of the fun playground items for our children, like the merry-go-round and stainless steel slide. But for some reason, mostly political it is unsafe to play dodge ball but it is ok to slam them into one another on a football field. All political, you can never get rid of the things that are so precious. Take NYC, the subway, pretty dangerous, I rode them all week and read a posted sign in a car, 141 people were hit and 55 died in 2012 alone, I see the mayor wanting to ban large sodas but not the use of the subway?

The Bizness

I think the point of that first quote is to make sure coaches understand signs and symptoms of concussions.

Your second quote was not written by Obama, so how is it telling? Obama is using his position to get an important issue more attention.

Suck it up culture is alive and well in many youth sports. I am sure you can ask many parents this. I am a coach, and I know parents who tell their children to suck it up.

His own life experience is important, I have had concussions, and so I am more aware of the issues.

Sure your number the number is small, but if one kid gets knocked in the head and it causes a brain contusion, which could cause death. that is one too many.

I am not sure why you think that President Obama spending a few hours on concussion awareness is a bad idea? Like I said, as a coach the culture of "suck it up" is alive and well.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Hey Biz thanks for the reply! Replies? I did throw a lot out there. Ultimately as I'm sure you saw I wasn't against this activity or the purpose for it. I don't think it was a bad idea at all. It was just awkward that the President threw in an effecting "yeah, you know, I may or may not have had several concussions".

As for the "telling" part, it may not have been clear in one place but please notice I didn't attribute that directly to the President. I did provide that even if it was manufactured by the reporter just how disturbing that thought is that even the reporter thinks the President needs direct power over this.

I'm glad to hear you coach! But don't you find it unfair being lumped into the "suck it up" culture when I can make the safe presumption you are not a part of it? That while there are parents who may be that it is just the presumed default that people actually don't care about each other? That, combined with the notion that government needs to control this when they are failing to control so many other things is just...bla. It's numbing.

I suppose the last thing to bring up is your point about even one child getting hurt. I agree here as I mentioned in my original comment. However with 320,000,000 citizens in our country it is going to happen statistically whether we want it or not. I don't mind looking at statistics or numbers, but context when they are lobbed out can help us see the bigger picture. Saying again that even one is bad as I'd never want it to happen to my children, I think for a nation our size only having .0008% of the population suffer head injuries during "sports or other recreational activities" isn't too bad in the aggregate. Something can only improve/grow/etc. so much before nothing else can effectively be done to continue that trend.

I'm happy to keep talking if you'd like, Biz, we have some great exchanges!

Contango

Re: "he (Obama) probably suffered mild concussions as a young football player."

THAT and the excessive drug usage 'might' explain a lot. :)

coasterfan

You know you have a bad case of Obama Derangement Syndrome when you knock him for advocating something that we ALL should be in agreement upon: preventing concussions...

Darwin's choice

How about the bad case of obama-suck-up-itis you've got? troll!

We should all be in agreement on getting rid of the failure in the white house.

obama/fail

freespeech1

Meanwhile veterans are dying and this moron Obama wants to talk about this? My god this man has no shame.

coasterfan

Republicans supported $5 trillion in spending on two wars, but earlier this year blocked a $21 billion dollar bill to help veterans.

So, they send our young men and women to war, but won't provide funding for the things they need after they come home injured for life. Republican politicians have no shame.

Darwin's choice

Democrats supported and voted for the same wars, troll!

obama/fail

Contango

Pres. Obama reminds me of the character Don Quixote:

Riding off in every direction, slicing and thrusting his sword wildly in the air and ultimately accomplishing NOTHING.

When describing him, the term "quixotic" comes to mind:

"exceedingly idealistic; unrealistic and impractical."

freespeech1

When it comes to this administration, the movie "Idiocracy" comes to mind. How anyone can proudly say they voted and support this clown is beyond me.

Contango

Re: "the movie "Idiocracy" comes to mind."

I woulda thought that his head woulda been bigger. :)

Agreed. But I'd also include the entire progressive-socialist movement.

Pres. Obama is a symptom, he's NOT the disease.

coasterfan

LOL, you guys really need to get your heads out of your Foxholes. The America you see bears little, if any, resemblance to what is actually happening.

The recession is over, 9 million jobs have been added to the economy, the auto industry was saved, a major health care reform law brought coverage to millions of Americans, unemployment has gone way down, inflation is way down, the housing industry and banks have recovered, the federal deficit has been cut in half thanks to massive spending cuts, we've exited 1 unpopular Bush/Cheney war and are winding down on the other.

For a much, much shorter list of accomplishments, see; George W. Bush.

Basically, America was dropping into an abyss by 2008, and under Obama we've done a complete 180. Are we there yet? Nope? Are things better than they were under Bush, and are they headed in the right direction? Absolutely.

Darwin's choice

You need to stop drinking from toilet. Do you have any facts/proof to backup you lies???? We know better. It's comical that you use this forum to try to sway people with your BS.

obama/coasterfan/fail

Donegan

I have a question for you. With the unemployment numbers still at 12.6%, The Fed bailing out everyone for 85 billion dollars a month, Millions being thrown off their insurance and paying higher premiums for less coverage under Obamadontcare,a stagnant housing market along with numerous other things how can you claim not to be brain damaged to think we are doing better?
If you do not have brain damage then you have no excuse for being a moron and need to open a book or at least quit getting your news from the comedy channel.

Dr. Information

This idiot will do anything to get the attention off of the more important items.

Contango

Yea, THIS looks 'manly':

http://www.jpattitude.com/Images...

Remember: Pres. Obama IS our first metrosexual president.

And pay no attention to those rumors about Rev. Jeremiah Wright's "Down Low Club."

Stop It

To all of the above. lmao!

coasterfan

LOL, you guys just wish you could find a conservative candidate who is both charismatic AND intelligent. There is a definite dearth of that in your camp, isn't there? We Dems find your attacks on Obama to be as amusing as they are insubstantial...

Stop It

You don't know me at all. If Billy Clinton could run again, he'd have my vote. It'd be tough to get Ronnie Raygun to run again after diggin' him back up, but I'd vote for him too as long as Nancy didn't have her hand up his back like a ventriloquist.

Darwin's choice

Sad thing is, coasterfan, these aren't attacks on obama, someone points out the truth, and to you it's an attack. You are sucked up way to far!!

obama/fail

looking around

LOL at the so called conservatives commenting here with their usual rhetoric, even the republican party wants nothing to do with them. If they only could separate them from the heard but alas republicans/fail!

Darwin's choice

look again....carney left because he couldn't stand lying anymore!!!

That sucking sound you hear is coasterfan,deertracker,big dog, and obama circling the drain.

deertracker

Sad that none of you addressed the actual premise of the article. If you really care about kids and sports you have to realize this is an issue. Do you really want to care for your 16 year old for his entire life because of a sport's injury? Seems rather selfish to risk your kids' health for your own enjoyment. The President is right. Attention does need to be brought to sports injuries. Hero, no one is trying to hurt kids in sports. The goal is to make them safer for everyone.

You guys rally need to keep your eye on the ball and ease up on all the Hatorade you are drinking.

Pooh, it is dummies like you that are the problem. There is nothing "manly" about getting hurt in youth sports or adult professional sports. There is also nothing unmanly not wanting to live your life in a power chair.

Stop It

Lemme guess. You were a cheerleader? Nope...my bad, that involves gymnastics. Ummm, a concert band? Certainly not a marching band. They are required to move and play music at the same time. Perhaps you like NASCAR just to see the wrecks? Nah. What is the most dangerous thing you have ever done?

Please, let us know.

deertracker

I was not even athletic enough to be a cheerleader but that made me no less of a man or boy . The two are not related.

I am not a NASCAR fan.

You really don't want to know the most dangerous thing I have done and I don't want to advertise it. Trust me on that!

freespeech1

Stuffing cotton into medicine bottles isn't what I would call dangerous, well maybe the occasional hangnail might be painful.

Stop It

lol...

Stop It

Oh c'mon and please tell us? Did you ride the Blue Streak? Maybe the big Ferris Wheel that goes slower than gramma drives?

No wait!...you drove after drinking one beer at a friends house?

freespeech1

He tore a tag off a mattress!! Now that's living on the edge!!!

deertracker

Please tell your mothers to stop calling me. Very dangerous! Trust me!

freespeech1

Infantile mama comments lol, now the preverbal barrel bottom has been scraped

deertracker

Just tell her please. Wrinkles are dangerous. Never know what you will find in them!

deertracker

I have never drank a beer. Probably the reason I can still see my feet, unlike you!

Contango

Re: "Never drank a beer" and "not even athletic enough to be a cheerleader."

So why would a little dweeb like you care about what REAL men and women do?

deertracker

Are you saying dweebs don't drink beer or that only real men do?

Get in the real world pooh. No need to advertise your age.:)

Contango

Re: "Are you (snip)"

Whatever you say, limp wristed, mousey dweeb.

Darwin's choice

"most dangerous thing I have done".....got married!

looking around

Cheerleader.......hmmmmmm who was a cheerleader oh yea George Bush....LMAO!

KnuckleDragger

Re: "there is nothing manly."

And there is nothing good about a government that feels the need to become involved in every aspect of someone's life.

deertracker

The article CLEARLY state that there is nothing he can do but bring attention to the matter. Where's the problem with that?

Stop It

Distraction from real problems.

deertracker

Advocating safety for your kids while playing sports is a distraction? Stop it!

Contango

Re: "Advocating safety for your kids while playing sports is a distraction?"

Bet if you conducted a poll, this topic wouldn't even rate.

Jobs, economy, et. al. are what Americans are concerned about.

All stuff he said he would "focus like a laser" on.

In Apr., 70% of those polled in a WSJ/NBC poll said that the country was on the wrong track.

Yes, it's "distraction" - for him.

coasterfan

Polls also show that consumer confidence is nearly 80%, up from 32% at the end of the Bush years. Other polls show the exact opposite of the one you mentioned, but what really matters is the obvious:

NO ONE wants to return to the financial meltdown of 2007-2008, so even Republicans would have to (grudgingly) admit that things are better now under Obama than they were at the end of Bush's disastrous presidency.

deertracker

Please do not assume pooh has a brain. He does not. It is presently marinating in Kessler's!

Darwin's choice

So, suck up, how about the cost of gasoline this week? Five years of highest prices in history under your boy! You demorats should be proud!

obama/fail

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thanks for the mention, deer. I know that nobody is trying to hurt kids which is why the quotes and context of the discussion was awkward. Solutions to problems are best found with context and rational heads. Allies are also found when they aren't blanket-included in insulting notions such as the "suck it up culture". I am not a part of such a culture. I presume you aren't. The Bizness doesn't seem to be. So when we are addressed with words like that, to whom is the President speaking? Even more broadly when we are talked to about such subjects as poverty the frame seems to be that there are no programs currently installed that address poverty and up until this speech here right now it was nothing even considered by society.

As Biz brought up there is nothing wrong with talking about a subject, but what irks me is when the words used are manipulative and incomplete.

deertracker

Just seems to me that some need him to draw a picture to make sure they get. The topic is concussions in youth sports plus there is a young girl at the podium speaking of her personal experience. Where's the manipulation and incompleteness especially since it has already been mentioned that all he can do is bring awareness to the issue?

There is a "suck it up" culture in all sports and there is no need for anyone to be in denial. Fine but it still should be safe.

There have been several NFL players that retired early to preserve their health.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The manipulation and incompleteness is the lack of any kind of context to the numbers he uses or his random throwing in effectively "Yeah I may or may not have had concussions, too, guys! See? I'm one of you!" There is a difference between communication and talking down to. Some people probably do need pictures drawn, but that number is far smaller than the rest of society who are perhaps scratching their heads at being automatically included in the "suck it up" culture when they are not. Making everyone a part of the problem isn't an effective way to reach a solution.

What was done to this serious issue was to tell the audience "All of you suck. But what I say/do doesn't suck. So if you don't want to suck, because by default you do suck, then you have to support me and do only what I say because everything else - all other possible solutions - suck. Stop sucking, America, I may or may not at some time sucked, but then I stopped. So you can you."

reddog

A local author/teacher, Ty Roth just wrote a book about this, Goodness Falls. Pretty interesting read… looks at all sides of the issues. One thing that is clear, head injuries are complicated and not well understood. Is there anything wrong with being concerned about our children having lifelong complications from middle school and high school sports? Is there ANYTHING we can be doing better? I know not a single person on here would want their child injured. I don't know what the solution is but isn't it okay to talk about these fears?

Stop It

No. Suck it up. That's what sports are all about. That and teams show people how to live to get along and quit the whining crap that deertracker does.

Speaking of which, pull the momma card again, boy. Can't wait to see what santown419 has to say on this matter, boy. He always seems to bring in sisters and mommas like you do.

Wald

Coming back from a concussion has nothing to do with being able to "suck it up". Thinking otherwise is ignorance.

reddog

Agree @Wald.

deertracker

Thinking StoopIt is not ignorant is just ignorant. Sounds like the boy likes to suck!

He obviously has NO idea what the effects of a concussion are.

deertracker

Aww, what's the matter StoopIt, momma wouldn't let you suck it after you turned 5?

Stop It

:)...

Easy as pushing a button on this keyboard.

deertracker

......for both of us!!!!!!!!!!!

santown419

That's all he/she can do is push buttons because we know they have no heart and scared of their own shadow.

santown419

What's wrong coward or stupid or more like jerry sandusky that fits you since you love little boys so much. I guess you don't mind people saying suck it since you wasn't even man enough to not get your a&& beat in front of your boy/girl. Maybe you should play some sport or your drugged out dad was to sorry to teach you. I'm sorry he was to busy playing dress up sissy BOY. Now BOY GROW SOME you racist coward.

Stop It

I knew I could drag it out. :)

Chirp

santown419 has got to be the most ignorant commenter on this site

Stop It

It's deertracker, the flip side.

santown419

Ok stupid I mean jerry sandusky your boyfriend Chump is Mad you talking to me.

santown419

Why because u don't kneel down to you want to be kk an member? You cowards come on here with your racist garbage and want people to except it. Stupid comes on here with my god is a for five god but they hate people. So Chump just because you and your members have a problem with blacks but advocate rapist because they are white you are the ignorant ones. Your girlfriend called me out so I answered I can't help he likes little boys. I take you are one of his/ her victim and now take up for it.

The Big Dog's back

Only in right wingnut land would someone advocate that kid's play injured.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Who advocated for that?

Donegan

You must excuse Big dog. He is brain damaged due to concussions from inserting his cranium rectally every other day.

The Big Dog's back

hz, I'm sorry the education system failed you.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

It must have failed me so hard that I don't even realize I got an honors diploma, a bachelor's degree, and several other certifications along with studying several languages including getting a rather firm grasp on English. Well darn, I'll just have to continue my education as I have done every day since graduating. You are welcome to start that journey, too. We can start by helping you follow through when you are trying to put someone down.

If you are going to try and diss me at least do it properly. Or if nothing else be creative about it. Not by calling me a doodypants stinkyhead, but perhaps more subtly such as if I were to say, "You are not worth another word, else I'd call you knave.", or "For such things as you, I can scarce think there's any, ye're so slight."

Chirp

Because a head injury in sports is a more pressing topic than violence in public places and schools, Cheers! Attention IS paid to this topic, Barack. Truth is, today's doctors aren't even sure all of the details about concussions! So, until they can get on the same page and figure out how to treat and diagnose them effectively, we will stand and watch people blame the sports instead of the real problem, youth coaching. The fact that children are allowed to play tackle football in 4th and 5th grade is absurd. Then, by the time they reach high school, they aren't taught tackling fundamentals anymore and begin playing recklessly.

ohioengineer

Only in today's America could a topic as non-political as protecting our children be made extremely political. This issue and the over-the- top response it has provoked (see above comments) makes me question whether we have any common ground as Americans anymore.

For this to change, we will need a true leader going forward. The good news is that America has been blessed with great leaders in time of crisis. (Lincoln and FDR to name just two.) The bad news is that bad times can create an atmosphere ripe for bad leaders. (Germany during the wars and the rise of a man named Hitler.)

Americans have a history of rising to meet a crisis; let us hope that continues in the next presidential election.

KURTje

Marinating in Kessler's. mahahahaha!! Good 1 deertracker.