The House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently held a roundtable discussion with medical, military, athletic and research communities on the potential impact concussions pose for young people, athletes, veterans and elderly people.
The discussion was led by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy, PhD, (R-Pa.).
“Today, we begin a new chapter in the national dialogue on concussions. We are not here to re-litigate past actions, point fingers or cast blame. We are here to take a step back, to gain some perspective and to begin a conversation focused on solutions, not on problems,” Murphy said at the meeting.
A number of medical representatives and representatives for the military and athletic organizations discussed concussions and the health risks they may pose. Col. Dallas C. Hack, MD, retired combat casualty care, said more research is needed to understand the effects of concussion on the young and the old, two groups that are susceptible to these injuries.
During the meeting, Janice D. Schakowsky (D-Ill.) asked Jeff Miller, the executive vice president of health and safety policy for the National Football League, if the organization acknowledged a link between playing the sport and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
“Well certainly Dr. [Ann C.] McKee’s research shows that a number of retired NFL players were diagnosed with CTE, so the answer to that question is certainly yes, but there are also a number of questions that come with that. The broader point: What does that mean? Where do we go from here?” he asked at the meeting.
Raising awareness about the correct treatment for concussion in youth athletes is important, David X. Cifu, MD, of Virginia Commonwealth University, said at the meeting. He noted that many health specialists still treat concussions by placing athletes in a darkened room or bar them from playing their sport again.
“Let us raise awareness, raise education about effective management and continue with the path where science is going, not over-treat or under-react,” he said at the meeting.
Murphy thanked the representatives for their participation and lauded the progress made during the past decade in concussion treatment and research, but stressed more discussion and research is needed in the future. – by Robert Linnehan