Congress to Shine Spotlight on Concussion Science in 2016
On December 22, Fred Upton, Chair of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee announced that his committee with commence a “broad review” of concussion science in 2016.
Although the announcement coincided with the release of Will Smith’s movie “Concussion,” focusing on the implications of concussions in the NFL, Representative Upton emphasized in his announcement that
“This problem goes well beyond the battlefield and the gridiron. It’s a matter of public health as these injuries are prevalent in all ages and across the population.”
Representative Upton noted that increased public awareness has led to promising efforts to understand the causes, effects and treatments for concussion, but suggested that “we still have a long way to go” in our understanding of “how [concussion] effects different subsets of the population, the short and long term effects, and other details critical to developing effective diagnostics and treatments.”
Representative Upton’s announcement also coincided with an announcement by Scientific American that advances in concussion science made its list of “top ten science stories” of 2015.
Representative Upton promises to facilitate collaboration between various concussion “stakeholders” including “professionals from the National Institutes of Health, U.S. military, professional and collegiate sports, the scientific and medical research community, and other stakeholders.”
Even if this review fails to lead to any new knowledge concerning concussion science, it promises to bring more attention to existing scientific understanding – as covered in this blog – making it more difficult for “stakeholders” like insurers and the NFL to deny this science.