I spent a fun afternoon with some energetic young men at Stoner Park in West L.A. not far from the TV station. I was working on a story about concussions and brain injuries and figured what better place than a skateboard park to talk about the risks of banging your head . (Football's not in season,, hockey rinks weren't too plentiful, etc etc ).
Not one kid at the park had a helmet on, because, as Dax explained, a concussion ''What, keeps you from skating for about a week, a torn ACL that' s what I worry about.'' Ok. More power to him. The occasion of this story was an unusual summit at the White House with President Obama and several doctors and athletes and philanthropists, discussing youth sports and concussions. Mega producer Steve Tisch, who is a guy with a rare combination of Oscars and Super Bowl Rings (he owns the football Giants) was there as well as he gave an incredible 10 million dollar donation to what will now be known as the UCLA Steve Tisch Brainsport Program.
I visited UCLA today too, before the trip to Stoner Park, and spoke with a young researcher named Meeryo Choe, a pediatric neurologist who is deeply involved in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries. She put it this way ''We need to know more about how concussions and brain injuries affect developing brain a lot of research done so far older athletes, adults, collegiate athletes, some high schoolers. There is kind of a real dearth of information about school age children and school age athletes when the reality is there are many more of them.''. Makes sense. The question is , for example, is a ''younger '' brain more resilient to injury , able to bounce back faster, or is a younger brain more susceptible to injury and long term damage because it's still developing. Due to the generosity of Steve Tisch researchers will hopefully be able to answer those questions and others like it so that down the road we'll have a much clearer idea of what a brain injury is, what the best treatment is, and before that even what's the best prevention, other than sitting still.
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