NFL HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATE -- MARCH 5, 2014
FALCONS HOST SAFE PLAY EVENT WITH ARTHUR BLANK & ROGER GOODELL
Atlanta Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank hosted a Blank Family Foundation Speaker Series program on Feb. 26 called "Making Play Safe for Kids." He was joined by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Following remarks from Blank and Goodell on the importance of sports safety, the event moderator, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, led a panel discussion on understanding the benefits and managing the risks of youth sports participation. The panel included former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, chair of the National Council on Youth Sports Safety; Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide; and Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth Foundation.
More than 170 parents, athletic trainers, youth sports organizations, youth football league commissioners and medical professionals attended.
UT SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER LAUNCHES TEXAS INSTITUTE FOR BRAIN INJURY AND REPAIR
UT Southwestern Medical Center last week launched the Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair, a state-funded initiative to promote innovative research and education. The Institute, which received a $15 million allocation from the Texas Legislature, will help researchers learn more about brain injuries by focusing on three areas: science and clinical research, state-of-the-art brain imaging, and education and prevention strategies.
Dr. Hunt Batjer, co-chair of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee, serves as Chairman of Neurological Surgery at UT Southwestern. "We're focused on everything from treating war veterans who are returning home and athletes trying to return to play, to maximizing the recovery of people suffering from brain injuries," said Batjer.
"Dr. Batjer's vision in addressing this public health issue aligns with the NFL's work to provide resources that will lead to better education, prevention, and care for people of all ages affected by traumatic brain injury," said Goodell, who attended the event.
The new Institute, which is a component of the Harold and Annette Simmons Comprehensive Center for Research and Treatment in Brain and Neurological Disorders, is a collaborative initiative involving local and national organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, UT Dallas and its Center for BrainHealth, Children's Medical Center, Dallas VA Medical Center, and Parkland Health & Hospital System, as well as Texas Health Resources and Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine.
NFL Senior Vice President of Health & Safety Policy Jeff Miller spoke about the NFL's work with Dr. Batjer at the event. "[Dr. Batjer] has helped us assess our research dollars, what goals we extend at the league around science and around some of the practices as it relates to the game," said Miller. "We have a great deal of faith in him. His leadership at this institute, whether it be around basic science research, clinical science research, outreach to the community and patient care, suggest to us that this is going to become a leading center."
LAWMAKERS URGE YOUTH CONCUSSION LAW EXPANSION TO RECREATIONAL LEAGUES
The Virginia General Assembly is considering a law that would require recreational league coaches to be trained in concussion management. While there are standards of care for an athlete who suffers a concussion while playing on a public school team, there are no uniform concussion guidelines for athletes in recreational leagues.
"I think it's important for coaches to know because they're often the first line of defense," said Anne McDonnell of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia. McDonnell lobbied lawmakers in 2010 to change the rules for public schools.
Lawmakers are working on the bill. If both chambers agree, they will vote before the session ends on March 8.
-- NFL Communications