Friday, February 23, 2018
Sports

Obama speaks out on concussions

WASHINGTON — Saying he wants kids to play sports but play safely, President Barack Obama called Thursday for more research into the effects and treatment of concussions in young athletes.

But without direct authority over leagues, Obama's ability to address the issue is limited to calling for research and trying to jump-start a national conversation to teach parents, coaches and young athletes about concussions — the goal of a summit he hosted at the White House.

Obama said a new attitude is needed when players who have been hit don't feel wimpy for sitting out a game or two.

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up," Obama said, adding he probably sustained mild concussions as a young football player. He noted concussions also are an issue in soccer, hockey, lacrosse and other contact sports.

The event brought together representatives of pro and college sports associations, coaches, parents, young athletes, doctors and others.

Obama was introduced by Victoria Bellucci of Huntingtown, Md., who suffered five concussions during her high school and club soccer career.

Victoria said the concussions made it hard to focus on school. She eventually turned down a scholarship to Towson (near Baltimore) and instead will attend Flagler (in St. Augustine) in the fall, the White House said.

"Concussions have drastically altered my life," she said.

Obama, an avid sports fan whose two daughters are active in them, also highlighted millions of dollars in pledges from the NFL, the National Institutes of Health and others for research that could provide answers and improve safety.

"We want our kids participating in sports," he said. "As parents, though, we want to keep them safe."

Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, Obama said. He noted the figure excludes those who see a family doctor or seek no treatment.

Obama previously waded into the debate over concussions last year, saying he'd have to think "long and hard" about allowing a son to play football because of the risk of head injury.

Among the pledges Obama highlighted are a $30 million joint research effort by the NCAA and Defense Department and the NFL's $25 million over three years to promote youth safety.

UCLA will use $10 million from New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, who attended the summit, to launch a program to study sports concussion prevention, outreach, research and treatment for athletes of all ages but especially youth. The money also will support planning for a national system to determine the incidence of youth sports concussions.

Comments
Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

Rasmus says he ditched Rays to spend time with family

SARASOTA — Colby Rasmus is making a new start with the Baltimore Orioles after taking an eight-month break from baseball.Rasmus signed a minor-league contract with the Orioles this week, after abruptly leaving the Rays in midseason. The contrac...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, there's only one question that really matters:Will the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?That's it. That's the big question. That's the only thing on everyone's mind.Will it or won't it?Does this ...
Updated: 20 minutes ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 23

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 2, Crystal River 0BaseballCalvary Christian 9, Countryside 2Northeast 15, Tarpon Springs 1
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk won’t die down until deadline is over

Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk won’t die down until deadline is over

MONTREAL — Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson sure seemed chatty with his Lightning friends as he left the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, took his time talking up several members of Tampa Bay's staff in the hallway out...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girls basketball: Rematch doesn’t go as planned for Tampa Catholic

Girls basketball: Rematch doesn’t go as planned for Tampa Catholic

TAMPA — Tampa Catholic thought about playing in Friday night's game — the Class 5A region girls basketball final — for an entire year. The Crusaders never forgot how much it hurt to lose in the same game to Oxbridge Academy in 2017....
Updated: 1 hour ago

Saturday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosXfinity: Rinnai 250 qualifying9 a.m.FS1Trucks: Active Pest Control 200 qualifying10:30 a.m.FS1Xfinity: Rinnai 2502 p.m.FS1Trucks: Active Pest Control 2004:30 p.m.FS1Baseball, spring trainingRays at Red Sox1 p.m.MLB;620-AMWhite Sox at Marine...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Girls basketball: Clearwater runs into a juggernaut

CLEARWATER — Without a doubt, Clearwater had the will to win. Unfortunately, Fort Myers had the skill, plenty of it.With talent filling every Green Wave role, nothing short of perfection would have kept the host Tornadoes competitive in Fr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

Impact of Tommy John surgery cuts deeply for Brent Honeywell, Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE – Two things that tell you a lot about Rays cocksure top prospect Brent Honeywell given Friday's crushing news that he indeed tore a ligament in his prized right arm and is headed for Tommy John surgery that will sideline him wel...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Girls basketball: Lakewood returns to state semifinals

Girls basketball: Lakewood returns to state semifinals

TAMPA — New season, same result.For the second straight year, Lakewood traveled to Robinson for the Class 6A region final. And like last season, the Spartans overcame a slow start to blow past the Knights, 83-52.Lakewood (26-4) will play on Wed...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Girls basketball: Tampa Bay Tech heads to first final four

TAMPA — Tears flowed. Hugs were abundant. Celebration ran rampant Friday night at Tampa Bay Tech, which survived a furious Naples Gulf Coast rally to win the Class 8A region title, 55-52, and claim the first state final-four berth in school his...
Updated: 1 hour ago