Obama tackles concussions as leaders from around sports visit White House

President Obama admitted he may have suffered from undiagnosed concussions as a youth football player.
By Matt Bradwell  |  May 29, 2014 at 4:44 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- Leaders from professional sports leagues, coaches, players, union leaders and more descended upon the White House today for President Barack Obama's summit on concussions in youth sports.

Representatives from the both NFL and the NFL Players Association, the president of the NCAA, Little League officials, the president of Major League Soccer and were among many from the world of sports to join top neurologists and sports doctors to hear the president speak.

"When I was young and played football briefly, there were a couple of times where I'm sure that that ringing sensation in my head and the need to sit down for a while might have been a mild concussion," Obama told listeners, adding that "at the time you didn't think anything of it."

Obama went on to note that every state has laws on the books requiring medical clearance for concussed athletes before they can resume participation, but it's up to coaches, management and leadership to step up in a landscape where athletes often refuse to self-diagnose for fear of losing playing time or public emasculation.

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up," Obama said. "Identifying a concussion and being able to self-diagnose that this is something that I need to take care of doesn't make you weak -- it means you're strong."

"The one thing we can agree on is, is that sports are vital to this country and it's a responsibility for us to make sure that young, talented kids ... are able to participate as safely as possible and that we are doing our job, both as parents and school administrators, coaches, to look after them the way they need to be looked after."

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