WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-08) a member of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Army Vice Chief of Staff General Lloyd Austin III to announce a joint initiative that will work towards treating and preventing Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) in both athletes on the playing field and soldiers on the battlefield.
"It gives me great pride to see members of Congress come together and discuss ways we can help the millions of Americans that suffer from Traumatic Brain Injuries," said Rep. Pascrell, co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force. "It is critical that both the civilian and military sectors come together to find solutions to this devastating injury that affects both athletes and the brave men and women that fight to defend this nation. We discussed the importance of making sure no athletes or soldiers fall thought the cracks. The Commissioner and Army Vice Chair voiced their support for continuing and strengthening this commitment."
The multi-faceted initiative is designed to promote help-seeking behaviors and empower soldiers and players to maintain healthier minds on the playing field and battlefield. The initiative includes event-based programs, websites and social media that will foster peer-to-peer opportunities to share information, lessons learned and tips on how to recognize, prevent and manage concussions and reduce the stigma associated with reporting brain injuries or asking for help with health issues.
Among the initiative’s tactics:
• New interactive websites: the NFL launched today a website dedicated to this initiative– www.NFL.com/military. As an extension of NFL.com, this site provides service members with both exclusive access to football news and the most up-to-date information on brain injuries. In addition, a new site www.army.mil/tbi will serve as the Army’s first-ever centralized hub of information on traumatic brain injury for soldiers.
• Event-based forums that will bring players and soldiers together at NFL team facilities and Army bases across the country to share experiences and reinforce the need for care.
• PSAs and social media interactions designed to increase awareness and promote help-seeking behaviors in each organization.
• Development of a peer-to-peer program that matches recently retired NFL players with soldiers transitioning out of the Army.
• Sharing of medical research and information between the NFL and Army.
As co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Rep. Pascrell continues to work to spread awareness of TBI, which has been dubbed the signature wound of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In order to protect athletes and our soldiers, Rep. Pascrell has introduced the following legislation: The Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT), which directs CDC to convene a conference of medical, athletic, and education stakeholders to establish model concussion management guidelines; The Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Act, which helps ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for younger athletes meet higher safety standards to address concussion, and that the claims made to parents about their child's helmets are indeed true, and; The Traumatic Brain Injury Act, which is the authorizing legislation for TBI state infrastructure and the TBI protection & advocacy grant programs at HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the public education/awareness and data efforts at CDC’s Division of Injury Response.