WASHINGTON — President Obama on Thursday will seek to elevate a national conversation about the dangers of sports-related concussions, especially among children and other young athletes, by pushing for more medical research and more money spent on public awareness campaigns.
The president will host a daylong summit at the White House that will include researchers, professional athletes, parents, coaches, league officials and sportscasters. Officials said the goal was to use the power of the presidency to accelerate progress on one of the most serious health issues to confront sports in a decade.
“Our focus here is on giving parents information that they need to help make judgments about how their kids can be safe,” Jennifer Palmieri, the White House communications director, said.
Obama is “a big believer in sports,” but as a parent, he is “concerned about the safety of his own daughters,” Palmieri said. Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, play sports, Palmieri said, although she declined to say whether either had sustained a concussion or other head injury.
The president will announce a series of initiatives, financed by the government, nonprofit groups and major sports leagues, that will aim to promote awareness and increase the amount of data that researchers can use to better understand the consequences of strong blows to the heads of young athletes.
Obama will not, however, call for new regulations or legislation aimed at requiring the use of specific helmets or restricting certain sports for young children. Such efforts would probably create controversy in the same way that Michael R. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, met resistance to his efforts to ban large sodas.
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