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2017 President’s Budget Includes National Concussion Surveillance System

The U.S. government may monitor many things, but concussions aren’t among them. That’s why the CDC has proposed a National Concussion Surveillance System to collect data nationwide. Now President Obama has taken up the call, incorporating the proposal into his 2017 President’s Budget.

It is well known that prevention and early detection are key to minimizing the effects of concussions and other traumatic head injuries. Yet only 1 in 9 concussions ever gets reported. With such limited data, national health organizations face huge obstacles when they research treatments and distribute resources.

To fight this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proposed a National Concussion Surveillance System. The system will be used to track and monitor health information connected to concussions and other traumatic brain injuries across the country. The CDC has had success with similar monitoring systems before in other areas.

As proposed, the National Concussion Surveillance System will use household telephone surveys to capture information about concussions across the country, including those that never get reported in any hospital. The CDC hopes that such a program will allow them to:

  • Estimate the numbers of sports-related concussions among young athletes.
  • Monitor trends in the number and severity of concussions to measure the success of prevention efforts.
  • Give insight to health care providers and hospitals about concussion treatment and recovery needs
  • Estimate the number of people living with brain injury-related disabilities

Such a robust national program comes with a hefty price tag. The 2017 President’s Budget includes a request for $5,000,000 to establish and fund the project. Whether Congress is willing to commit that much to a public health initiative remains to be seen.

But the CDC does benefit from the increasing public awareness around concussions and TBI. Sports-related brain injuries have been the subject of a number of lawsuits in 2016, from the NFL to Pop Warner Football. Every contact sport, from hockey to horseback riding, has been affected. The publicity around Will Smith’s movie Concussion and Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopath (CTE) have made head injury the cause of the year. 

Whether Congress is willing to step up to the line against concussions remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: the CDC and other national health organizations will continue the fight against TBI in the coming years, with or without the 2017 President’s Budget money.

David Christensen is a brain injury expert at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He helps the victims of traumatic brain injury get their medical expenses covered. If you have a TBI, contact Christensen Law today to schedule a consultation.