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  Gerard Gioia, PhD, testifies on concussions before Virginia legislature
February 25, 2010

RICHMOND, VA — Children’s National Medical Center has played a significant role in advancing legislation in the Virginia legislature based on the work of Gerard Gioia, PhD, Chief of Neuropsychology and an internationally recognized expert on youth concussions. The Virginia General Assembly is considering a bill that would implement best practices to protect young athletes from returning to the playing field after incurring a concussion. If passed, Virginia student athletes would receive the same attention and management on and off the field that are now considered standard of care for professional athletes.

SB 652 defines policies and procedures for schools and informal sports leagues in educating parents and young athletes about risks. It also outlines best practices for the care of young athletes who have sustained a concussion. The Virginia Senate passed SB 652 by a unanimous vote on February 15. Dr. Gioia will testify for the bill when it's heard today before the House Committee on Education's Subcommittee on Students and Daycare.

Dr. Gioia's work has demonstrated that young athletes require stringent care around concussions as their still-developing brains are especially vulnerable to long term consequences and re-injury if not given adequate time to heal. His guidelines for his patients include no return to the field of play after an injury, as well as careful management of cognitive activity while the young athlete is recuperating. Those comprehensive guidelines were recently adopted by the International Conference on Concussion in Sports, an international gathering of neurologists and neuropsychologists who have advanced best practices for both adult and youth athletes.

“This legislation helps parents and schools advocate for young athletes by defining best practices that even professional athletic organizations now embrace,” said Dr. Gioia. “By elevating this to a legislative matter, coaches, teachers, parents, and community physicians, will understand what is expected in the care and management of young athletes.” “My colleagues and I with Children’s National Medical Center applaud the work of Senator Northam in championing this legislation,” continued Dr. Gioia. “The willingness of our legislators to take on this important work underscores their commitment to the youth of the Commonwealth.”

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Contact: Paula Darte or Jennifer Leischer: 202-476-4500.

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About Children’s National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children’s has been serving the nation's children for more than 135 years. Children’s National is ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in America by US News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit www.childrensnational.org. Children’s Research Institute, the academic arm of Children’s National Medical Center, encompasses the translational, clinical, and community research efforts of the institution. Learn more about our research programs at www.childrensnational.org/research.