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Children’s National SCORE Program Director Strengthens Advocacy for Youth Sports Safety, Concussion Awareness

Gerard Gioia, PhD, Named to National Council on Youth Sports Safety, Testifies to United States Congress, and Honored by Tom McHale Memorial April 02, 2014

As an advocate for improved concussion education and training nationwide, Gerard Gioia, PhD, Director of the Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery and Education (SCORE) Program at Children's National, testified before Congress this month and has other speaking engagements in his effort to improve awareness of, and action on, concussions.

While concussion awareness has greatly improved, Dr. Gioia says it is not enough. "The next step in improving youth sports safety is to develop the tactical education and training methods and the prevention measures to keep our young athletes safe on the field. Parents, coaches, athletes, and physicians all need to know what to do," he said.

As part of his effort to advocate for a national effort to develop and implement action-oriented mechanisms for concussion education and training, Dr. Gioia gave testimony on March 13 to the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Dr. Gioia stood with colleagues to update U.S. Representatives about concussion research and the work that he and his colleagues plan to undertake to further develop action-oriented education and training modules for parents, youth sports teams, athletic organizations, and athletes.

Dr. Gioia has joined the National Council on Youth Sports Safety’s two-year initiative, Protecting Athletes and Sports Safety (PASS) to decrease the incidence of traumatic injuries among young athletes. Dr. Gioia joins an elite group of members, including Kate Carr, President and Chief Executive Officer of Safe Kids Worldwide, as well as Council co-chairs, Eliot Sorel, MD, of the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, and former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD. He chairs the Policy and Legislation Workgroup as it examines state and federal mechanisms to improve care. The council held its first meeting last month in Atlanta with monthly work sessions to culminate in a 10-stop national tour to engage communities in public health efforts to prevent and more effectively manage brain injury risk in youth sports.

As part of his ongoing effort to advocate for concussion awareness and safety, Dr. Gioia will also be speaking at the Fourth Annual Tom McHale Memorial, on April 30, organized by the Sports Legacy Institute. He will be presented with a Leadership Award for his national work on youth concussion education.

Dr. Gioia was also presented with the inaugural Medical Champions for Children Award by the Children's Health Board for his years of community-based work in youth concussion education, prevention, and management.

“My hope is that through a national collaborative effort, involving everyone from our kids and parents to the federal government, we will be able to create and implement effective systems and mechanisms to create a safe play environment for our young athletes,” said Gioia. 

Contact: Emily Hartman or Caitlyn Camacho at 202-476-4500.

About Children's National Health System

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has served the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is one of the nation’s Top 5 pediatric hospitals and, for a second straight year, is ranked No. 1 in newborn care, as well as ranked in all specialties evaluated by U.S. News & World Report. It has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. This pediatric academic health system offers expert care through a convenient, community-based primary care network and specialty outpatient centers in the D.C. Metropolitan area, including the Maryland suburbs and Northern Virginia. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is the seventh-highest NIH-funded pediatric institution in the nation. Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as a strong voice for children through advocacy at the local, regional and national levels. 

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