White House initiative will study youth concussions

White House initiative will study youth concussions

Sports-related concussions among kids and teenagers have increased during the last decade. In fact, traumatic brain injuries in youth sports involving kids ages 5 to 19 have increased by 62 percent from 2001 to 2009, according to recent government data. 

We have discussed the dangers of concussions and sports-related brain injuries among high school athletes in the past. Now, a new research initiative by the White House shows just how vital it is to research the long-lasting impact of concussions on our nation's youth. 

The projects will mainly be funded by donations from several groups including the National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Both of these groups have come under fire in the past for their lack of concussion awareness and safety efforts to keep players safe.

Part of the initiative will fund a long-term study to see how concussions impact kids and teenagers as well as address ways to improve detection of brain injuries. Researchers want to see how concussions impact youth in the long run because previous studies have indicated that the health effects from a concussion can last much longer than previously thought.

The new initiative is the step in the right direction as many kids and teenagers are affected by brain injuries every year from sports injuries. If the new projects can better document the long-term health impact of concussions, it will hopefully lead to better treatments in the future.

Previous studies show that concussions can impact a teen's memory and cognitive functions as well as cause headaches, blurry vision and other symptoms that make going to school difficult. If new research can pinpoint the long-term consequences of suffering a concussion, doctors can find better treatment options to help victims overcome their symptoms. 

Victims of concussions and brain injuries in California should be aware of this initiative and any studies associated with it because it could potentially lead to more knowledge and better medical treatment in the future. 

Source: The Claims Journal, "Youth Sports Concussion Epidemic Spurs Research Initiative," Sonali Basak and Alex Wayne, May 30, 2014

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