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Obama will tackle concussions during sports summit

The White House plans to raise awareness about identifying, treating and preventing game-related injuries during a summit next week.
A high school football team practices for their upcoming season in Arizona.
A high school football team practices for their upcoming season in Arizona.

The White House hopes to inform the public about sports-related injuries by hosting a conference next week, when President Barack Obama is expected to unveil new commitments by the public and private sectors aimed at raising awareness against those damages.

Obama has invited athletes, coaches and parents to attend the White House Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit on May 29. The groups will notify attendees about how to identify, treat and prevent concussions, as well as conduct additional research for injuries that aim to better address the problems, Press Secretary Jay Carney recently said.

"This is something that I think a lot of families spend a lot of time worrying about and want to know as much as they can about, and want to be sure that they're taking all the precautions they can on behalf of their children so their children can get all the great experiences that come from participating in sports," Carney said during a press briefing last week.

The National Football League last year reached a $765 million settlement with thousands of retired former players who filed a lawsuit accusing the league of neglecting to reveal the dangers of head trauma. The majority of the funds are meant for individuals suffering from neurological conditions. Some of the athletes since have filed a motion to intervene because they are able to work but continue to suffer from other effects including headaches and personality changes.

Obama would not allow his child to play the sport at the professional level, he said earlier this year during an interview with The New Yorker.

Football, wrestling and cheerleading are the three sports that cause young athletes to visit emergency rooms every 25 seconds, according to a "Game Changers" report released last fall. Athletes playing football experienced the highest concussion rate, followed by wrestlers and cheerleaders. Additionally, 40% of Americans said they would encourage their children to play a different sport rather than football because of the concussion issue, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll published in January.