Congressman Bill Pascrell

Representing the 9th District of NEW JERSEY

Rep. Pascrell Commends White House Youth Concussion Summit

May 15, 2014
Press Release

PATERSON - Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, commended President Obama for organizing a Summit at the White House on youth sports safety and concussions.  During the summit, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 29th, the President will be joined by young athletes, parents, coaches, academics and experts, athletes, military service members and other stakeholders.

"Protecting our youngest athletes from the devastating effects of sports-related concussions has long been a priority of mine, and I applaud the White House for their commitment to addressing this national epidemic," said Rep. Pascrell.  "We must do more to protect our student athletes and ensure every resource possible is available to those that sustain these devastating injuries. It's my hope that through this team effort, we will move one step closer to ensuring the safety of our youngest athletes on the playing field."

During the White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit, the administration will announce new commitments by both the public and private sectors to help raise awareness about how to identify, treat and prevent concussions and to conduct additional research in the field of sports-related concussions that will help us better address concussions among student athletes.

According to the CDC, each year, U.S. emergency departments (EDs) treat an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (mTBIs), including concussions among children and adolescents from birth to 19 years.   Many of these mTBIs are suffered by middle and high school students participating in athletics, but many schools do not have the resources to adequately diagnose and treat these injuries.  As a result, studies have shown that as many as 41 percent of high school athletes return to the field before their brain has an opportunity to heal from a previous concussion.

In March, Rep. Pascrell hosted the 12th Annual Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill, an annual conference that educates Members of Congress and their staffs on the full range of effects of brain injury, the challenges and recoveries of persons living with brain injury, and the services and supports available to them.

During the conference, Rep. Pascrell announced the introduction of the National Traumatic Brain Injury Research and Treatment Improvement Act of 2014, legislation that would direct the CDC to establish a national system to track the occurrence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and collect data to assist research, prevention, and treatment development efforts.

Rep. Pascrell has been raising awareness of traumatic brain injury dangers and treatments for 14 years, including the House passage of his Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT) Act, which provides for national protocols to be established for managing sports-related concussions.

In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notified Rep. Pascrell that it would convene the Pediatric Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Expert Panel, which will establish the national protocols. The guidelines and recommendations are expected to be finalized in 2015.

Rep. Pascrell has also worked to promote safety standards for sports equipment by ensuring that they are up-to-date and informed by the latest science. The Youth Sports Concussion Act touches on both product safety standards and false advertising issues related to sports concussion. Last month, the Senate version of this bill passed the Senate Committee on Commerce.