URMC scientist Jeffrey Bazarian, M.D., M.P.H., was at the White House today as President Obama picked up the national conversation on sports concussions.
Bazarian was among the country’s top scientists invited by Obama’s staff to network, raise awareness, and discuss ways to make sports safer. The President’s goal is to push more money toward medical research into traumatic brain injury, which has become a hot topic among NFL and NCAA athletes and youth players and their parents.
Tori Bellucci, a high school senior from the Washington D.C. area, introduced the President in the East Room after telling the audience that she had suffered multiple concussions while playing soccer. The Washington Post reported that Bellucci gave up a full scholarship to play in college because of the physical and emotional toll.
Bazarian said President Obama made it clear, however, that he’s not discouraging people from playing sports. Instead we need to focus on making all sports as safe as possible by providing the tools to protect athletes and understanding the consequences of sports-related concussions.
“This event certainly lent legitimacy to the research we’re pursuing,” said Bazarian, an associate professor of Emergency Medicine. Last month he published a study in PLOS ONE showing that six months in the off-season doesn’t always allow brains to recover from football hits.