President Barack Obama hosts Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit at White House

(NewsChannel 8) - The president is giving a voice to a silent epidemic: concussions.

A group of athletes, coaches and medical experts gathered at the White House Thursday where President Barack Obama said we need more research on sports concussions.

Hard hits and American sports go together like like fireworks on the 4th of July. But it isn't just professional athletes who are suffering. More than 140,000 high schoolers suffer concussions each year.

It's why the president held the first White House Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit. The goal of the summit was to look for better ways to detect concussions and improve treatment.

"We've got to have better research, better data, better safety
equipment, better protocols. We've got to have every parent and coach and
teacher recognize the signs of concussions," Obama told the crowd.

The founder of Brain Injury Association of D.C. says we need to change the warrior mentality that's so prevalent in high school sports and recognize concussions for what they are.

"A concussion's a brain injury. You gotta respect it," said Joseph Cammarata, founder of the Brain Injury Association of D.C

Concussions can cause anything from temporary loss of consciousness to sudden death. The president's hoping changing minds will change lives.

"We have to change a culture that says 'you suck it up,'" he said.