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International experts call for global youth sports reform to eliminate repetitive head impacts to prevent CTE
Concussion Legacy Foundation to launch Stop Hitting Kids in the Head campaign, new international chapter in Australia
(Sydney) – International experts in brain trauma research are calling for all global sports to eliminate repetitive head impacts under the age of 14 to prevent the neurodegenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and protect children from the worst outcomes of concussions. Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) co-founder and CEO Dr. Chris Nowinski will announce the Stop Hitting Kids in the Head campaign tonight during the CLF Australia launch event in Sydney alongside families of those impacted, and former professional athletes who are pushing to make sports safer.
“Working on the ‘Head Noise’ podcast, I learned without question that CTE is such a serious issue,” said James Graham, NRL legend and CLF Australia board member. “We need to have a conversation about at what age kids start tackling and become at risk for CTE.”
“Now that we have no doubt CTE is caused by repetitive head impacts in sports, it’s time to protect children,” said Dr. Chris Nowinski, CLF CEO and a board member of CLF Australia. “The idea that children playing sports are being exposed to a life-long degenerative brain disease is simply not acceptable anywhere in the world, especially when the solution is so simple: Stop Hitting Kids in the Head."
The goal of the Stop Hitting Kids in the Head campaign is to eliminate repetitive head impacts in youth sports by 2026, especially focused on soccer, American football, Canadian football, Australian football, and rugby. The research is clear – not only do repetitive head impacts cause CTE but suffering a concussion in youth sports increases risk for mental health disorders and suicide.
“CTE is the only neurodegenerative disease we can almost entirely prevent,” said Dr. Michael Buckland, executive director of the Australian Sports Brain Bank, who will also be a CLF Australia board member. “We must now mobilise to make reforms to keep our athletes, especially our children, safe. I’ve seen how this disease can ruin lives and devastate families. It’s time for the global community to act to stop future suffering.”
CLF Australia is committed to accelerating brain bank and clinical research to better understand novel mental health disorders after concussion and learn how to diagnose CTE in the living by recruiting former contact sport athletes to pledge to donate their brain to the ASBB and join the CLF Research Registry. All athletes are encouraged to sign up at brainbank.org.au.
MEDIA AT THE SYNDEY LAUNCH EVENT:
There will be a livestream of the launch event tonight in Sydney. The livestream will begin at 4:00 p.m. and can be viewed at: https://slhd.zoom.us/j/62060582017
Speakers include: James Graham, Peter FitzSimons, Dr. Alan Pearce, Dr. Chris Nowinski, Dr. Michael Buckland, Jamie Shine, Natalie Foley, Hayley Folkes-Shaw, Kathy Strong, Enid Taylor and Jen Masters.