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Leaders Unite To Make Youth Sports Safer

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Organizers believe that the creation of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance will help bring awareness and more safety restrictions to youth sports.
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Organizers believe that the creation of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance will help bring awareness and more safety restrictions to youth sports.

By Manuel Quinones, Capitol News Connection

Almost 50 young athletes have died while playing sports this year, including one from Maryland. And dozens of leaders from different fields have gathered on Capitol Hill this week to find a solution.

Despite efforts at making youth sports safer, problems continue, and the D.C. area is not immune. Gerard Gioia, a pediatric neurophysiologist at Children's National Medical Center, says the issue doesn't end with the athletes.

"What we see is not only children who are injured, but we also see parents, coaches, schools that are uninformed about the injury," Gioia says.

Organizers of the Capitol Hill summit, like National Athletic Trainers' Association President Marjorie Albohm, believe the formation of the Youth Sports Safety Alliance will make a difference.

"Never before have this many people come together on a single issue," Albohm says.

The organizers are pushing for more awareness, safety programs and even tough laws at the state and national level.

"Leading causes of death and permanent impairment: concussion, exertional heat-related illness -– those things are preventable," Albohm says.

Legislation is making its way through Congress to address concussions. One bill would create national guidelines to treat and prevent concussions. Their fate remains uncertain as lawmakers wrap up for the year.

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