The NFL commissioner is headed to the White House to dicuss concussions in sports, the Washington Post reports. He'll join President Obama and "200 sports officials, medical experts, parent activists and young athletes Thursday for the first White House summit on sports concussions," the Post reports.
The gathering is aimed at finding new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious head injuries, particularly in youth sports.
It’s the latest example of how the White House is attempting to leverage the president’s position to influence social norms in areas not directly under his control. Aides say the push was prompted in part by conversations that Obama had during last year’s National Football League playoffs with his press secretary, Jay Carney, who, like the president, has young children who play sports.
“The president approaches the concussions issue as a parent,” White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri said in an interview. She compared Obama’s approach to his recent focus on other issues such as sexual assault on college campuses and low-income students’ access to higher education. “A lot of change he can do is not just outside of Washington, but also outside the parameters of the government,” Palmieri said.
The NFL commissioner will join other representatives from sports associations. "NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will attend the summit, as well as representatives from the NCAA, Major League Soccer, the NFL Players Association, the U.S. Soccer Federation and medical institutions such as Children’s National Medical Center. It will feature an on-site training session for young soccer and football players on how to avoid head injuries — complete with drills on the South Lawn — as well as panel discussions on the latest scientific research."