'This Week': Congress on Concussions

ABC News' Jim Avila and ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on the recent congressional hearing on sports concussions.
3:00 | 03/16/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Congress on Concussions
questions about sports and safety. Those dramatic headlines about head injuries in the NFL aren't the only concern. Each year, more than 250,000 American kids get serious head injuries while playing sports. And that startling fact grabbed a spotlight in congress this week. ABC's Jim Avila was there. Reporter: 6 million kids play tackle or flag football. Absorbing an average of 650 hits to the head every season. The most wicked carry 150 Gs, the force of a bowling ball being dropped on the player's head from eight feet above. Consider a hit between a running back and a linebacker at full speed. The force each player exerts on the other, equals three-quarters of a ton. Reporter: Officials from the NFL, NHL, doctors and athletes, considered the sport culture of playing win at all costs and hurt must end. A lot of sports at the youth level, suffer from a misplaced macho attitude. Reporter: Surprisingly, studies show soccer is second on the list for concussion danger. And one of the game's most famous players, former team usa goalie, Briana scurry, who helped the U.S. Win its first world cup, can no longer play. Suffering this head injury at age 38. What was the effect of that on your life? Issues with my balance. Loss of memory. Concentration. Difficulty focusing. Sensitivity to light and sound. Reporter: The NFL has already changed kickoffs. Penalized and suspended players for using the head as a weapon. But admits the league has not developed safer equipment. Football helmets were not designed to protect against concussion. The helmet manufacturers are working on it. We're not there. Reporter: Congress urging the league to continue rule and equipment changes. And most importantly, a change in culture. For "This week," Jim Avila, ABC news, Washington. And ESPN's Jeremy Schaap joins us now. Jeremy, thanks for coming in. Jim pointed out. Congress is nudging the NFL to make more changes. But is there anything else that congress can or should do? I think what congress has to do is continue to nudge. The NFL has made significant changes, as Jim pointed out in the piece. There's fewer full-contact practices now. They're working on technology. Diagnostic technology, to determine how hard a hit was, if a player needs to come out of the game. But the NFL exists to make money. And if it doesn't get pushed, it might stop searching for the advances. And it might stop funding the research that it is funding right now. And in some ways, a bigger question, what to do about youth sports right now. More regulation? There is regulation out there. We have new laws on the books. But it's not enough, clearly. This is where the NFL comes into it, as well. The NFL is sending a message out there, that football can be played safely. Tackle football, even for very young kids. And the evidence that we have now suggests that the youngest kids should not be playing any sports where they can suffer real head trauma before the age of 15. And the people who know about this, the best neurologists in the country, say ban tackle football under the age of 15. Ban full checking in hockey under the age of 15. That's not where we are yet on regulation. And that's, perhaps, where we have to go. Seeing a lot of parents

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