WASHINGTON, May 29, 2014 - At a White House Summit today on youth sports safety and concussions, President Barack Obama announced that the Defense Department is partnering with the NCAA in an effort to better prevent, diagnose and treat brain injuries.
The NCAA and DOD have committed $30 million for concussion education and a study involving up to 37,000 college athletes -- the most comprehensive concussion study ever, Obama said.
"And our service academies -- Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard -- are all signed up to support this study in any way that they can," he added.
"I've seen in my visits to wounded warriors [that] traumatic brain injury is one of the signature issues of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," the president said.
But, Obama said, most mild traumatic brain injuries in the military don't occur during deployments.
"So even though our wars are ending, addressing this issue will continue to be important to our armed forces," he said.
"And as part of a new national action plan we announced last year, we're directing more than $100 million in new research to find more effective ways to help prevent, diagnose and treat mental health conditions and traumatic brain injury -- because the more we can learn about the effects of brain injuries, the more we can do to help our courageous troops and veterans recover," the president said.
There's more work to do, Obama said. "We've got to have better research, better data, better safety equipment, better protocols," he said.
And enacting deep and real social change is a critical part of developing better prevention and treatment options for brain injuries, the president said.
"We've got to have every parent and coach and teacher recognize the signs of concussions," Obama said. "And we need more athletes to understand how important it is to do what we can to prevent injuries and to admit them when they do happen.
"We have to change a culture that says you 'suck it up,'" he continued. "Identifying a concussion and being able to self-diagnose that this is something that [you] need to take care of doesn't make you weak -- it means you're strong."
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