President hosts concussion awareness conference

Late last month, President Obama organized a conference on the subject of sports-related concussions. We have previously discussed that these kinds of traumatic brain injuries may initially seem relatively harmless but can ultimately result in severe consequences. The media and safety advocates have been increasingly concerned about sports-related concussions for some time. It is a positive development that the White House has now taken significant executive notice of this public health and safety issue.

The attendees of the president’s conference included representatives from both the NCAA and numerous professional sports organizations such as the NFL. Professional sports team owners, physicians, members of Congress and scientists were also present in significant numbers. According to the New York Times, both public and private entities pledged tens of millions of dollars for education and research on sports-related concussions by the time that the conference concluded.

Many individuals are focusing on the fact that the conference was long overdue. And given the fact that sports-related concussions have harmed countless individuals, this concern is certainly understandable. However, it is also important to note that because the nation cannot change its past, it is critical that leaders remain unafraid to confront problems as they are manifesting right now. The conference may have been overdue, but the fact that it occurred at all is a positive development.

In hindsight, it was arguably a mistake to trust the NFL to research and respond to this public health crisis alone. Now that the issue is being acted upon by the nation’s highest office, it may be treated with the respect and urgency that it deserves.

Source: New York Times, “Obama’s Conference on Concussions Was Too Long in Coming,” Juliet Macur, May 29, 2014