Local doctor speaks at White House concussions summit

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk doctor just returned from Washington, D.C. where he took part in the first ever kids sports concussions summit at the White House.

Dr. Joel Brenner is one of the country’s leading experts on youth sports concussions. He is the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters’ Sports Medicine Director and Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine.

“One of the White House staffers called me about a month ago to talk about ways we could all collaborate, and then two weeks ago they called up and said, ‘hey we want to have a summit, and we want it in two weeks,'” Brenner said.

Dr. Brenner arrived at the summit Thursday along with about 200 doctors, athletes, coaches and families to talk about ways to educate the public about the dangers of concussions, which can cause anything from headaches to sudden death.

The president announced several multi-million dollar public and private commitments for more research and education. Change, Dr. Brenner says, started simply by gathering together these key players to collaborate.

“I think if we all pool our energies together, we can actually make more headway,” he said.

The key is making everyone  aware. Dr. Brenner’s practice sees about 40 to 50 new concussions a week from every sport and age group, both boys and girls. What he doesn’t want is for parents and players to be scared.

“It can be worse if they give up their football helmet or soccer ball to sit on the couch with the remote control and potato chips,” he said.

He wants kids to stay active and get educated. CHKD has an entire webpage dedicated to concussion education. They also work with coaches and schools in Hampton Roads. To learn about what they are doing on the topic, click here.

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