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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  October 22, 2011 10:00am-2:00pm EDT

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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> coming up, a senate commerce committee hearing on the short and long-term impact of concussions on student athletes. after that, president obama and the first lady's remarks at a military base in virginia, and later three female members of the marines talk about outreach efforts in afghanistan. >> this weekend, six republican presidential candidates travel to iowa. if we wil -- watch our live coverage of governor rick perry, representatives michele bachmann and ron paul.
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>> sunday, on "and newsmakers" senator tom harkin, who will talk about the recent work on the note child left behind act and the status of chet -- of job legislation. >> it is just to me very obvious that with all of the priorities we have, and they are all worthy, till further notice, every decision the national government makes, every close call, should be made in favor of economic growth. every time should be broken in favor of growth of the private sector. >> he worked in the reagan white house, and as governor of indiana he implemented spending cuts that produced a $1 billion spending -- budget surplus.
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mitch daniels on his new book, the economy, and his decision not to run for president in 2012. >> next, a senate commerce committee hearing on the short and long term impact of concussions on student athletes. he will hear remarks from neurologists and former collegiate athletes. this is about two hours. >> this hearing has come to order. there are 14 senators in front of you, but you cannot see them.
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we're working on something with nasa. i'm very proud you are here. this one, although you never know looking at him is a football player, or was. so, i will make an opening statement, and i wish each of them would try to keep it brief. i'm so grateful for all of you being here. this is a message subject. the story which i may tell about my son redials parents cannot always be as effective as they would like to be. you could buy as the one you give your testimony. so, -- advise me when you give your testimony. so, anyway, every afternoon at the end of the school day, millions of children's and dissipate in -- millions of our children participate in team sports. it teaches them important
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values. they learn about hard work, leadership, living with pain, going through it, working together for a common goal. the camaraderie that comes up of sport in its is wonderful to see -- units is wonderful to see, it is real, and it lasts forever. most young athletes will not play sports at the collegiate or professional level but we hope they bring the lessons they learned with them for rob left. -- and throughout life. many of us are reluctant to talk about the risks in playing sports because we know what a positive role they play in our community. and the other hand, the last thing we could do is not talk about this problem of concussions, dear, and the rest of it. america has to have this
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conversation. there will be many hearings on it, i know. in fact, more of our children should be playing sports, not fewer. to many are spending time in front of the computer, television screen, instead of the sports field peritonitis set every day by people involved in health care. -- field. that is set every day by the people involved in health-care. they say you need an hour of activity to stay healthy. only 17%, 1/3 of our children are overweight or obese which makes it more likely they will suffer from chronic health issues that will plague them the rest of their lives as indeed we talk about today could do to some. the risks are very real.
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we have heard about the national football league players who are struggling with serious mental and physical problems because they sustained repeated mild, a traumatic brain injuries, which is what concussions are called, medically, and during their plane years. it is very, very sad. i've seen a number of these players, people that i worship berlin up, in wheelchairs'. -- were shipped growing up, in wheelchairs'. -- were shocked growing up, in wheelchairs'. who was the guy who played cornerback for the raiders? the greatest interceptor all- time, come on, and give me -- it does not matter. it was awful. i was at an event with him and he was seated in a wheelchair, and could not even pull his head
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up. i leaned down and whispered in his ear. i think i kissed him, too, but i'm not sure. this was eight years ago, nobody was talking about it. we understand this is not an injury only nfl players can suffer. according to research conducted of the nationwide children's hospital in columbus, ohio, more than 70,000 high school football players sustain concussions every year, and it is not just a football problem. one of our witnesses, alexis bell will talk about the concussions she suffered while playing soccer in high school and college. according to nationwide children's hospital more than 10,000 soccer players assisting concussions each year. so, -- sustained concussions every year. we will hear from her and our other witnesses today, why
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should name. dr. jeffrey kutcher. you're not in my opening script, so i had to do this. forgive me. the assistant director. dr. ann mckee, professor of neurology at boston university and director of merrill -- neuropathology core. and, mr. mike oliver, executive director of the national operating committee on standards for athletic equipment. we welcome all of you. i will close right there and ask the chairman of the subcommittee would be willing to say something, and also the
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ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for a scolding this hearing this afternoon. -- holding this hearing this afternoon. there are so many coaches, moms, dads, and players across the country that are very interested, then probably should be more interested than they realize. that is the great thing about having this hearing, trying to get that information out and discuss a potential, a very serious problem. not a potential serious problem, a very serious problem. sports play a vital role in the development of young women and men. it keeps them physically active, and healthy. according to the national high school sports related injury surveillance study participation in high school sports has almost doubled in the last 30 years. this is fantastic news, and it is important for us to highlight
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the benefits of playing sports, however participation in athletics does carry with it significant risk of injury. just last week there was news of a tragic death of a high school football player who died after sustaining a head injury during a game. it is important that everyone, coaches, parents, physicians, and the athletes themselves understand those risks and are able to identify injuries when they happen current concussions have the potential for severe injury, and multiple concussions could cause repressions later in life. with recent media reports of high-profile incidence in the nfl we often associate football with concussions. as i am well aware, concussions are a risk. players in many sports run the risk. it is imperative for coaches, and parents involved in all
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sports to be aware of the dangers associated with the concussions, and know how to recognize the signs and symptoms, and what to do if a player suffered a concussion. i look forward from hearing -- to hearing from doctors torture and dr. ann mckee. many questions remain as to the causes and effects. i am very interested in hearing what is known and where we go from here. there is also a wide variety of the athletic equipment on the market that claims to use concussion-preventing technology. parents want to keep their children protected, but navigating the many products and claims in the marketplace, especially online, can be overwhelming. it could be easy to read the something offers the best protection and assume that their child could be safe from injury. that is simply not true.
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some products offer better protection than others, but we need to explore what resources exist to help parents and coaches know what level of safety a product will lead to be provided. i also do not know how the average parent or coach can be confident that the equipment they purchase offers a better safety benefit, or if it's advertisement contains misleading or deceptive claims. i hope all witnesses will be able to answer this question. along with a knowing the safety of limitations of sports equipment, parents and coaches need to educate themselves on what to look for in the event that an athlete has a potential concussion. there are a number of different materials available for this purpose. perhaps the most well-known education effort is the heads up the initiative led by the cd c in partnership with dozens of individuals and organizations.
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organizations like usa football have their own organizations. education campaigns must be effected in order to effect change. i am interested to learn whether there is data to us if these efforts are reaching a wide enough audience in promoting awareness sufficiently. i know that hearing will draw attention to support and safety issues. parents, coaches, and athletes must have the resources available to them to understand the severity of concussions and how to react when one happens. as i said earlier, the benefits of sports are many, and i hope the potential for injury does not prevent anyone from playing. mr. chairman, thank you for calling this hearing. i look forward to hearing from witnesses. i ask unanimous consent that a statement from the sporting goods manufacturers association
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and usa for bobby in the record. >> it is so done. -- football be in the record. >> it is so dumb. >> to record >> a call on seven -- it is so done. >> i call on senator tom udall. >> thank you. mr. chairman, i greatly appreciate your efforts to promote brain research and you're close attention to consumer protection issues. concoctions used to be? -- concussions used to be dismissed as dings or bell- ringers. we now know they should be taken seriously. emergency room visits for sports and recreation related to emetic
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brain injuries increased by 60% among children and adolescents over last decade, a and thecdc attributes this to a greater awareness, which is a good thing. some sports equipment makers appear to be taking advantage. there are a number of so-called anti-concussion, and convention -- concussion-reducing devices on the market. while we should encourage innovation to protect young athletes we need to make sure advertisers play by the rules. expert witnesses today can spread some light on anti- concussion claims used by some support manufacturing's -- clyburn matt -- some sport equipment manufacturers. we should not forget how important sports and physical dexterity is for children. only 18% of american high-school
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students participate in one hour of physical activity today. that is the amount recommended by the department of health and human services. among high school students in new mexico, only 23% are getting it. this could lead to negative health consequences that could last a lifetime. we need to encourage kids to play sports, exercise, in the more physically active. his injury is always a risk, but the benefits far outweigh the dangers. as we learn more about the dangers of concussions for young athletes, which can make sure they are played more safely i want to thank all the witnesses for being here and testifying today, and especially want to recognize mr. alexis ball who travel from albuquerque. in reviewing dr. ann mckee's testimony, i find it pointed the she discusses a former nfl
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player who tragically took his life earlier this year. he 2007 he testified before this committee. he informed his family that he wanted his brain to be studied. he hoped people could learn more about the effect of the brain trauma so kids to play football more safely in the future, and in keeping with the sediment i hope this hearing today will against the goal of making sports safer get -- to advance the goal of making sports safer. >> said was a pretty powerful stick to. >> thank you. >> -- that was a pretty powerful statement. >> thank you. this alexis b -- ms. alexis ball. >> concussions have greatly altered my life, and i appreciate there. taken advocacy role in awareness. i played soccer since i was 4. i've always been a high-
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achieving student athlete. by my junior year in college i was an academic all-american, captain of my team and received first-team all conference honors. for as many honors as i have a cumulative i have accrued as many concussions. i was medically disqualified from the athletics in 2009 after a season of struggle following two concussions assisting in the middle of the season to >> when you are saying is so important, moving, and powerful, so i wanted to slow down just a bit so we do not miss a syllable. >> ok. i'm sorry. during preseason i was offered an opportunity to shadow a doctor. it was clear i had a concussion due to the dizziness, and vomiting, and seizures that followed. my coaches were not pleased when i informed them of the concussion. according to team doctor
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requirements as set out for a week. after the week i met with him again. he asked me the normal questions -- do you have a headache, are you busy, can you remember these words? i was still experiencing headaches, but it was the week of the first game and i wanted to play. i played for two weeks without minimal -- with minimal issues, but in the third game i took a header on top of my head, was not able to stand up and needed assistance i set out another week, and continue to play. the weeks following were horrible. i was playing terribly tired i was no longer able to sleep at night. i would fall asleep around 3:00 a.m. in the morning. i could not pay attention in any of my classes. the most disturbing change was it? personality. i no longer enjoyed partaking in anything -- the most disturbing change was in my personality.
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i no longer a joint partaking in anything. i was not comfortable in my own body. i did not know who i was. i thought the high achieving student athlete was permanently gone. my mother was concerned about my well-being. i told my doctor about my struggles and he was rather concerned. in an effort to see what was happening i took it tests that revealed my visual memory was impacted. i now fall in the 20 percentile of all people and my doctor explained was experience prolonged symptoms. i was shocked. my doctor and i also talked about the status of my future in soccer. we talked about indications for my future. i had a ready accumulated 10 concussions in about eight years, most of which was wearing protective head gear. the doctor said i should hang up my cleats. this was a crushing blow
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approximately, -- blow. i have to separate my head for my heart. concussions are very serious. people claim an athlete sustained a concussion like it is no big deal. too often it is dismissed because it is not a visual injury. if an athlete cares there a c l r springs there a call it is apparent there injured. this is not the case with a concussion. moreover, many of the symptoms of post concussion syndrome are not associated with the original. that is something i want to emphasize. athletes must be aware that if they sustain him a concussion symptoms can last longer than days or weeks. they can last a lifetime. another issue is the house -- had gear or helmets. i wore protective head gear. it was supposed to be a
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preventive measure, and clearly this did not hold true. i sustained about eight concussions since wearing it. it is essential for athletes and coaches to know that athletes are not free from concussions because they have protective head gear. i think it is important to note that the mentality of trying to return to play as quickly as possible is very prevalent. there is pressure on efforts to deal with injuries or there will be in jeopardy of losing starting positions or playing time. this culture makes it easy to lie about symptoms. i knew the answer is to return to play. no one could prove a had a headache or not. this was a poor decision, but i did not understand the severity of concussions. i continue to play longer than i should have, and most certainly too quickly. people have only one brain. i will never regain the visual memory i once had, nor gain the
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respect i lost. i hope that my story will make concussion awareness more prevalent among coaches and athletes. i believe most coaches and athletes to the truly understand along to ramifications of concussions and people also need to understand wearing protective gear does not stop concussions. i want to say thank you again for inviting me today. >> thank you. you did extremely well. >> mr. steven threet, a student at arizona state university was a quarterback, and is still their starting quarterback, but you're still associated with the team. >> yes. thank you for inviting me. it is a great honor to be
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speaking here on a topic that is changed my life and i'm happy to raise awareness about such a critical issue. dealing with concussions can be a difficult process for the injured player and their family, so it is exciting for me to see such a prestigious and capable group of individuals were willing to learn more in an effort to help better educated protect all athletes. iraq by playing career i face a multitude of injuries, -- throughout my playing career i face a multitude of injuries, but none cause more confusion than concussions. each of the four document concussions i experienced were unique and assisting them direct -- unique. i sustain them directly from his still ahead, as well as from my head hitting the ground. when my symptoms were similar, they ranged from dizziness and blurred vision to constant headaches.
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the severity had no constant patterns. in two cases are returned to play. one week after the injury i sustained. in one instance it took me two weeks to recover, however my final concussion i suffered on november 26, 2010, and the result in symptoms were the reason i decided to end by playing career. during my days playing brain injury was never a concern after my first concussion i was able to start the next game. it was not until my symptoms became serious that my attitude changed. when i decided to retire, i saw my decision simply as the right one to make, however in the aftermath it is apparent to me that my decision can also be seen as how dangerous brain injury is. my goal in speaking is not to deter athletes from competing. i only wish that they would acknowledge the seriousness of
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brain injury and respect the process that comes with recovery. in all sports a certain mentality is required to be successful. the passion and intensity a football player relies on is an example of this and makes the game beautiful. and a former quarterback b.j. as a former quarterback, i know -- as a former quarterback, i know the importance of all working my opponent, and leaving it all on the field, but athletes must understand mild brain injury is not a mild shoulder separation. it is not an injury to be played through. it is not a sign of tough this, but a sign that says the fees are still not informed on the subject. statistics have revealed that about 40% of the athletes who sustained a concussion returned to play too early, and up to 50% of concussions go unnoticed. this makes me believe that the only focus should be to create an open dialogue between
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athletes, coaches, doctors, and families to discuss the seriousness of brain injuries and the need of a full recovery before returning to play. i know it is possible to decrease those statistics and no progress on this issue is being made. many states have passed legislation dealing with concussion protocol. unfortunately, there is now bringing brace, concussion- approved helmets or magic pill for immediate recovery. however, i believe there is a misunderstanding about treatment and prevention. for example, the football helmet is often thought of as a brain protector when in reality it is designed to protect the bowl structure of the individual. if a helmet could guarantee concussion prevention i would still be playing football. once again, thank you for the opportunity, and more importantly, thank you for taking the time to learn and show your support for this
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issue. i look forward to the progress i know can be made on the topic. >> thank you you talk about and the lead program, and you are exactly right -- >> thank you. you talk about the lead program and you are exactly right. dr. bring as -- dr. kutcher, bring us some wisdom. >> i am extremely glad to be providing my testimony. i am a physician and sports pathologist at the university of michigan. since 2005 are have been in charge of the academic sports knowledge program. our program provides support for up to all ages and abilities. provide education to athletes and coaches, administrators and health-care providers. in my clinical practice i care for athletes at the time of injury, returned to play process, over the course of their seasons, carriers, and
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after they retire. since 2009, have also been share of the sports serology section of the american academy of neurology. i am currently co leading the effort to produce chemical base guideline support on a concussion, an effort that includes reviewing every academic paper ever published on sports concussion. i have also been recently -- recently named the director of the concussion program and the national hockey league players association. the issue of sports concussion has been gaining public interest as well as government interest in the past several years. the majority of the focus has been on those already in the spotlight. while these athletes are experiencing the greatest doses of head impact over their
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lifetimes, they represent only a small fraction of the population at risk of injury. that is why i'm glad today's focus is on protective equipment being used by all athletes, regardless of level of play, age, or gender. a concussion is commonly a problem seen only in males. but concussions occur in females as well, with some data suggesting the concussion instance is actually higher in females compared to m ales. up to 3.8 million are estimated to occur each year in the united states and the majority of those occur in our youth. there is great concern regarding the notion of possible long-term effects from concussion, especially on the pediatric population, which may be at even greater risk given the ongoing development of the pediatric brain. it is an injury occurring to the brain when the brain moves
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fast enough or suddenly enough to disrupt the normal electrical function of its component cells. given the brain is floating inside fluid inside the skull and that the head can act as a pendulum when the body is struck, movements of the brain can occur with or without a direct blow to the head as long as this call or the brain inside of it is the celebrated with enough force or accelerate it with enough force. a concussion can take on at many different forms, but include slowed thinking, memory difficulties, or other signs of memory dysfunction. concussions cannot be diagnosed by anyone test. a diagnosis can only be made after a careful clinical a evaluation performed by a health-care professional, and preferably one experience with brain injuries. it is important to recognize that confession is not the only
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brain injury by can occur from head trauma. bleeding around the brain or skull fracture can occur any time that an athlete or an object is moving quickly in the field of play. there is emerging evidence that forces from multiple impacts that may not even produce concussion could have a potentially negative long-term health effects on the brain. helmets have an extremely important role to play. without them, the potential for serious injury would be -- would make many of our sports extremely risky. for example, school fractures from playing football have essentially been eliminated from home -- by using helmets. some concussions occur not as a result of the force experienced by the scroll, but as the force
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experienced by the brain -- by the skull, but as the fourth experience by the brain. currently, there is no convincing data in published literature that show any particular helmet as better than any other to prevent concussion. such data is hard to collect for two main reasons. first, given the variables that exist in the athletic population and the various exposure to him? , is extremely difficult to conduct a randomized controlled clinical trial on populations of athletes. the second, given that the confession is a clinical diagnosis with no exhaustive diagnostic tests, and a concussion and -- any conclusions are limited. there is no published data for the same reasons to show that now spans or other guards reduce concussions. i have seen results and the
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other direction as the new- found sense of security encourages rough play. every week i announced by parents about what equipment they should buy to prevent concussions. the truth is that no single piece of equipment can significantly prevent concussions from occurring. they occur as a natural event from playing sports. the potential harm that i see is far more than simply the financial arm of paying more for something that is not likely to work. it comes from having a false sense of security, not understanding how the injury occurred and what could be done to prevent it. the public has a significant, but in heraclea limited ability -- helmets have a significant, but inherently limited ability to prevent concussions.
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i look forward to it prances as we work to protect our athletes. thank you. >> let's move on. >> chairman rockefeller and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on sports concussions and their consequences. my name is dr. ann mickie, a professor of pathology -- ann mckee, a professor of biology. i am also co-director for the center of dramatic encephalopathy. i am not speaking on behalf department of veterans affairs. mild brain injury, or concussion, is a temporary state of neurological dysfunction resulting from forces on the brain, acceleration, deceleration
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collateral and rotational forces. some of concussion is caused by these same forces, -- sub- concussion is caused by the same forces, but symptoms are milder. in all of these cases, the brain looks normal after the injury and there is no detectable damage on routine euro imaging, such as acy thank fdot -- such as a ct scan or mri. as the brain as a whole is stretched or deformed by these forces, there is also stretching on the support cells within the brain. the brain abnormalities associated with a concussion occur at the molecular and metabolic levels. if an athlete returns to play before the symptoms result, the athlete risks of developing
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post-concussion syndrome or cysts that are a rare, but often fatal, condition. in addition, can cause severe injury can -- concussive injury can cause additional injury that develops slowly over a decade. it is triggered by repetitive concussive injury on a brand that has not healed from previous injury. this is why proper diagnosis and management of concussion, allowing the brain to complete the rest and recover after an injury, is so important in youth sports. >> as well as the issue of relatively young children whose brains are still growing. >> absolutely. the youth's brain is more susceptible to concussive injuries that adult brain. children recover more slowly.
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u.s. athletes are also more at risk of concussion due to their -- youth and athletes are also more aggressive percussion due to their disproportionate size. and they are uniquely susceptible to second impact sandra, which has only been reported under -- second impact the syndrome, which has 11 reporter under the age of 24. it happens when there is a second head injury when -- before the sun comes up associated with the first impact have cleared. typically, the athlete returns to play too early and received a blow to the head, which may be minor. that they appear stunned at first, but in the next few seconds to minutes, the athlete collapses to the ground; toes. the result is almost -- to the ground, comatose. the result is almost always
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permit injury. i have examined the brains of many athletes and diagnosis cte in 44 ballplayers, including professional -- 40 football players, including professional all the way too high school. individuals with the syndrome become more aggressive commendable, develop mood changes, sometimes become suicidal and of drug and obvious. as the disease progresses, they develop short-term memory loss, which leads to increasing cognitive impairment, and ultimately dementia and in some cases parkinsons'.
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it is caused by a buildup of a protein that forms a tangle within the brain -- a tangle of neurons within the brain. it is usually found in limited quantities, but in cte, there is a striking buildup of this even in yon examples. david corston of the chicago bears began playing football at age 8 and experienced many concussions over his nfl career. after retiring he had a loving family and had four children. at the age of 46, he experienced financial district -- difficulties and the dissolution of his family. he developed memory losses and mood swings and headaches. in february of 2011 he killed in stockton tied his florida apartment. he left instructions to donate
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his brain to my laboratory and my examination showed he was suffering from moderately severe cte even though he was only 50 years old. another example is a when thomas, who played football since age 9. in the spring of 2010 he called as perinton said he was stressed by school and having trouble in his courses. two days later he hanged himself inside his on campus apartment. if you compare their brains, there are remarkably similar, but milder pathology, suggesting that if ellen thomas s. -- owen thomas had lived in the 30 years, he would have a and advanced to the progressive the stage as the former football player. another player in a game was tackled as he intercepted a
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pass. he then collapsed unconscious. he died the following day. examination showed several head each -- subdural hemorrhage. he was the youngest player ever diagnosed with cte. i have now examined the brains of 58 individuals with cte and i have found players as jenna 17 and 18. is -- as young as 17 and 18. we know that once cte is triggered, it progresses slowly over decades to the above widespread degeneration of many brain structures. the symptoms are subtle and begin in mid life with personality and behavioral
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changes, including irritability, short fuse, depression, suicidal ideas and memory loss. there is a slow progression to dementia and parkinson's. there are many things we do not understand about the disorder. we do not understand the exact prevalence of the disorder, even though we know it clearly exists and is surprisingly common. what factors and what will develop -- and what will determine who would develop the disorder, how severe, and at what age, all of those are things unknown at this time. we do not know how to diagnose the disease in living individuals, how to stop the progression, or how to reverse its course. but we can make important changes from -- to prevent it from developing in young athletes and those things include understanding what a concussion is, recognition of a
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concussion when it occurred, and proper management of a concussion when it happened. we can also teach our young athletes to play smart and keep their head out of the game at as much as possible. berlin for an employer and court -- coach education will go along -- rule enforcement and player and coach educational goal long way to help. increased scientific research and development of diagnostic tools to interrupt this do-this disease progression, we can make enormous improvements to protect the mental health of millions of young athletes and military service members for many years to come. thank you. >> that was excellent. so we then finish with mr. mike oliver. let me repeat, the executive director of the national operating committee on
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standards for athletic equipment. having read my preparations, and still a little bit confused about what you do and what you do not do. >> i think i can cover that. >> thank you. >> i appreciate the invitation to come here today and provide testimony and answer questions to the committee on a topic that is extremely important, to me personally as well as the organization i represent. my name is mike oliver. i have served as the executive director and general counsel of noxy. we develop face guards, hellas and even soccer shin guards. -- helmets and even some pershing guards. each organization, by definition through our by lies,
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selects one or two of its members to sit as the director on the board. we have two non-voting positions representing the national sports governing bodies of the ntia and the high school federation, the nhs. there is no single controlling interest group on the board. it is not a trade organization. there is no membership category. funding is undertaken through licensing fees that were charged to manufacturers who want to certify equipment to our standards and to use our trademark and logos and property and phrases. although we are not a certified body -- we do not certify equipment independently of the manufacturers -- we do engage in surveillance and monitoring
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product performance through validation testing as required by our standards, as well as direct product testing in an accredited testing laboratory, with whom we contract to provide technical support and services. decisions regarding changes to standards or the creation and adoption of new standards are driven by science and motivated by the desire of board members to protect athletes, not by profit, market share or any other interests. the mission of the commission is to establish standards for athletic equipment, where feasible to fund research. we have funded more than $6 million in research grants since the first grand was issued in 1984. that includes more than $5 million related to concussion research.
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helmets, whether they are football helmets or batters helmets, must score more than 1200 severity standards of impacts conducted at 1200 -- at a certain mileage per hour. in addition, there are four impact at lower speeds that have lower threshold requirements. although they are not concerned -- our standards are not concussion specific, they are limits that are involved in most concussion events. the standard does provide some level of protection of those conditions. we do not promote helmets as being concussion preventive or anti-concussion because there is no way to measure the extent of the protection provided. what we have not been able to get address, and is a subject
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not addressed by any other hamas standard in the world, is how to establish -- any other helmet standard in the world, is how to establish a protection for rotational acceleration. these are involved in a significant number of concussions and these types of accelerations can occur with out even at a blow to the head. there is no single source that specifically addresses concussion prevention. and the development of a standard for any protective equipment requires a substantial scientific reports that compliance with the standard would, in fact, eliminate or reduce the severity of concussions without reducing safety standards in other areas. certainly, helmets are not the
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only solution to providing better protection against concussion. prevention, diagnosis, treatment in management decisions -- treatment, and management decisions about when an athlete may return to play are just as important. in fact, these may be to even more important. we have entered into a partnership, as mentioned earlier, with the seavey cp -- cdcp to promote the education among those who are motivated to provide the best level of education and education to their children, the parents. scientists are working hard to understand the issues of that improvement might be made in prevention and treatment. we are on one of the fight -- we are one of the four primary funding sources for this
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research. any device, including helmets, promoted as being able to prevent or cure a concussion must be presented to peer review of research. we fund concussion research to a advanced science so that changes can be made to standards that will reduce concussions without increasing risk in other areas. and we have taken specific steps to do that while the answers are found. but without specific answers, any changes made to address concussions becomes nothing more than a hopeful experiment, returning players into involuntary test subjects and that is something we will not do. it and look forward to the discussions today -- i look forward to the discussions today. >> thank you for that excellent testimony. we have been joined by senator klobuchar from minnesota. there are having quarterback
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difficulties. [laughter] >> we do have a team, however. >> yeah, you do. [laughter] i am from west virginia. i deserve that. what is interesting -- that was good. [laughter] i have spent -- i think my mother spent about 12 years with alzheimer's, but by she did. my mother's wife also died from alzheimer's. there are about 5 million people that have alzheimer's in this country. one of the stunning things about hall -- about alzheimer's, which interestingly, if you are working in that area of the brain you can also work on alzheimer's because there are many common threads. the "new york times" came out
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with an article six or eight months ago basically saying that the last 30 years of research at the great institute of research in this country had produced absolutely no progress whatsoever on finding a cure for alzheimer's, not for preventing it, not for slowing it down, not for even testing to find out if you have it. although, that might be on the way, but it does not cure it, which is what we want. that is a stunning figure. now come along the injuries that are sustained by concussions, made more poignant by the fact that they come so early in life and can have such terrible consequences that you, miss ball, decided not to do what you spend your whole life preparing to do. that is not necessarily typical. that is a very wise decision to make.
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i want to throw this at all of you. you could develop a 50 pound helmet and all it would do it is more securely, i think, unless i'm wrong -- it would more securely make sure your head does not get split open. but it would not do one thing to stop the movement of the brain. which then, if you say that emphatically enough, it raises the question of what can you do medically? you can analyze. and we do that with alzheimer's. you have an alzheimer's registry where people leave their brains to be studied, just like you have had. you learn from that. but that does not do them any good. i want to raise two questions. one is, to the medical side of
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this, do you think i am wrong? you think is just because it is a relatively early discovery? to be quite honest, i did not know at all that somebody who had played soccer could get this until i watched the movie about the wedding when we beat china back in 1980, and that incredibly powerful player that the chinese all stayed away from because she would just flatten them. she had chronic fatigue syndrome. she did not have a brain concussion of any sort. and and you see soccer a lot. all of us watch soccer on a lot more. and you see people using their heads and you do not know whether the bands are on them are not. it is amazing, the ignorance of
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the american people, about this problem even though we know much more than we did know about it. i want to know right off the bat how hopeful you all are, realistically, about being able to find a problem in all of this so that the brain is not thrown off. can this happen? >> i personally am very hopeful. we did not know about this disease five years ago in any real way. and what we have learned in the vice five years has been extraordinary. we have made the extraordinary gains in identifying how the disease looks, how would progresses through the nervous system. now that we understand it exists, we can model experimental systems and come up with the therapies that might help us treat living patients.
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i actually think that this disease may ultimately be a window to provide insight into things like alzheimer's disease. alzheimer's disease is characterized by a buildup of protein as well. and maybe understanding how this starts and how it progresses, we may have insight into how it starts. one of the things about alzheimer's is that we do not know. it starts silently. we can never identify precisely how it starts. but this is a disease that we know we have a time course. it develops over time. i think it will give us an enormous opportunity for intervention. >> is this because of helmets or other -- >> no, i think understanding the actual pathologic process and intervening there. intervening where it is
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triggered, or in the system -- the nervous system. there seems to be a progression that there is one nerve cell and then it causes the disease to be propagated. if we can interrupt the progression of all we can make an enormous difference with this disease. that may be the case with alzheimer's as well. we were focused on the beta amyloid protein. we were not able to come up with very much. but we have not focused on tao very much. maybe that will help. >> can i ask you two athletes, is that the prevention of something that you know you already have from becoming worse that interests you the most -- the answer has to be yes -- or is that the absence of the vast amount of change in the
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way everybody in this country thinks -- or is it be absolutely vast amount of change in the waiver but in this country thinks? there are a lot coaches in rural states that are also math teachers. that is probing not very good for coaching or mouth. but that is how it works. people do not know. if you are talking about not letting it happen in the first place, that means you have to tell your person to keep their head up. try kowt -- try telling that to an nfl player who has just been shot blocked by someone and they have the chance to get back at them. human stress and behavior is hard to control. maybe if the shock of what people are learning -- or if we do more of this -- that coaches or parents -- and parents are a lot less helpful on this than
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they think they can be. kids want to just go ahead and do it. i am 17, do not tell me i cannot do this again. is it that you do it after you know you have it? and you try to prevent it from happening? >> i would say, yes. obviously, i believe awareness would be the biggest issue. if you could increase the knowledge base for the general public and for the athletes, i feel like recovery -- athletes would do a lot better with recovery. it will -- they would take time to allow their brains to recover. i do not believe brain injury is considered a serious enough issue throughout athletes. it was not for me until i had a concussion that changed when i was able to do in school and on a daily basis. >> i am with overtime. i apologize.
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in your locker rooms, both of you, is there any discussion about this among the athletes themselves? >> concussions are talked about kind of off slightly still, at least when i went replying -- went through playing. a lot of people work if you got your concussion one day and then you are resting, players are like, i do not see them hurt. why are they setting out? i think that mentality need to change. if you have a concussion, then you need to be given respect to rest. it but to do our doctors get any good training on this in -- >> do our doctors get any good training on this in their medical? >> not as good as we would like. and they find they can make more money elsewhere and apart. on the question of whether i am optimistic or not, the answer is yes. i am optimistic. but your story about
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alzheimer's and your lack of improvement and understanding for treatments is very applicable to this situation. it is also not unique to bring pathology in general. i think about strow, multiple sclerosis, we do not have cures for these -- i think about stroke, multiple sclerosis, we do not have kerr's for these either. -- we do not have cures for these either. cte on the one hand, it is a general -- a degenerative neurological process that is coming from multiple blows to the head. i do not think for a moment that these folks are at a high risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease itself. i think we are at an a -- a stage now where we are just turning to understand the scope of a problem.
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as the doctor mentioned, we do not know the full problems of this. we are finding it more and more often in those who have had brain in packs, those in the military as well, but how does it relate to neurological disease? we do not know. i do not want to alarm these folks over here that because they have had concussions that they will have cte later in life. >> i'm way over my time. i apologize to my colleagues. senator bozeman. >> i'm glad you mentioned that because i was going to ask dr. mckee. she mentioned to the 17-year-old that passed away. i guess, one reported concussion and then passed away, as opposed to -- were there other reported concussions prior to that? >> no, i do not have any of the reported concussions. >> we really do not know if he played through a concussion. >> right. >> or as you mentioned, doctor, the repeated blows of being in a position he was in.
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it really is a problem. you are all testifying so well. the problem is, to play athletics at the level that you played at, you are in pain every day that you go out there. sometimes they are not significant injuries, but they are broken figures, a nagging fingernail that was pulled off, just these nagging things i can be very painful. athletes are taught to play through that or you do not get to the level that you are all able to play at. to follow up, you did not feel like for the head injuries, the concussion aspect was talked about very much for in your career? >> before me, ed was not a serious topic until my last concussion. until i had to be out on the field.
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but there was a shoulder separation, ankle sprain, whatever it was, shoot it up and i'm able to go. but that is not the case with brain injury. you cannot just take something for the pain and deal with it later. >> sometimes it is not as much pain as some of these other injuries. if you agree with that? -- do you agree with that, that you did not get enough education in that regard? >> i would agree. it is not really taught in youth sports. but when i was playing in both high school and in college, it was just concussion. that is always was. -- all it was. >> i have been on the v.a. committee in the senate and house. we spend a lot of money trying to figure out the ied component of this, which is similar or the same, whatever.
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do we have a test now that we can identify if somebody has gotten a pretty good blow? is there an easy test to determine? >> no, we need lots of research to determine that. that is something we do not have. we do not have a way of identifying a concussion other than a series of psychometrics tests, balance tests, those kinds of things. we do not have an easy way to identify it or monitor it. that is an apparent -- a very important issue that the v.a. is addressing. it is a crucial issue. >> you two are board certified and well-trained. i suppose, which were licensure, you have to achieve so many hours of continuing education to continue our certification.
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i guess, what i'm wondering in the course of this -- we had not talked about too much about the education aspect of this. your coaching a little bit now and perhaps -- you are coaching a little bit now and perhaps going to pursue that. were you a pain major? >> no, sir. i am coaching has by playing career. >> ok. what i am concerned about and maybe we could visit with somebody at some point about this -- when you are coaching in these institutions now, are they talking about this? the importance of it. the crux -- >> they have essentially made it a policy that all athletes and coaches need to receive concussion education annually. uc conferences like the big 10
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having that -- you see conferences like the big 10 have been the policy as well. all of the athletes get a lecture from me or one of my delegate on concussion. things are improving. there is a long way to go, especially as you go down to high school and junior high school and the community leaders. but there is a push in that direction, to make people get an education at either as they participate or as a player as it -- as they participate as a player or as a coach. >> that will be good. and again, in our teaching institutions to include that in curriculum. and also, the state sanctions, as they do their continuing education, to make this something that is talked about every year would be very helpful.
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the other thing i want to touch on very briefly, and you all can comment -- i know that you will talk more about this. but the idea of being able to certify a helmet as something that will prevent concussions or whatever, the chairman mentioned about a 50 pound helmet. and theoretically, if you can reinforce the helmet and making it do that, then it is more of a weapon. maybe you create another problem in doing that. can you just comment on that again for the record? that is not possible. the advertisements that we see. >> i appreciate that comment because i think is very apropos of the difficulties that we face in trying to come up with ways to address things like concussions. therese extent, the mass of the helmet is productive. -- to a certain extent, the mass of the un is protective.
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-- of the helmet is protective. but there are limits to what you can do with the helmet as far as mass. you get to a certain point and the extra weight becomes a risk in other areas and you increase the risk of neck injuries and other injuries by doing that. there's a trade-off in that regard. i do think there is progress that can be made once science gets to a point where they can identify the specific forces, or combinations of forces and the resultant forces, that are likely responsible for these concussion issues. the thing that is probably most restrictive is the fact that right now, you cannot study a living human brain at the level, at the molecular level while it is being subjected to blows from the outside to see how it is responding.
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there are ways to collect data in the field to show how much the forces are and how much the head has seen. we just sort of a larger project with dartmouth university, dartmouth school of engineering and wayne state university, to look at diffuser mri's to look at injury. to follow if a ballplayer -- a football player after an event and feed this information into a program that would then how bus model what happens to the brain -- help us model what happens to the brain in certain circumstances when it is struck. it would help us to determine those circumstances better than we do right now. and that is with the goal to
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come up with a standard where we can confidently say, if a helmet meets a standard, which would include these issues, then you have a comfort level to provide protection against concussions. now, not all concussions, and it would be certainly to prevent a particular amount. but it would be designed to meet those specific issues the we know the cause concussions. but having this design behind it is absolutely preliminary and you cannot move forward without it. >> thank you. >> senator yudof. >> dr. kutcher the my varitek -- your testimony states that there is no evidence of any home of being better than any other in preventing the sports concussion -- any home it being better than any other in preventing sports concussions. last year, there was testimony
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that widell has -- ridell has. huge published information that shows their home of reduces concussions by 31% when compared to traditional helmet. one of the authors of the study told the "new york times" earlier this year that he disagreed with ridell's marketing the 31% figure without acknowledging its limitations. ridell has extensively used this claim in its marketing. here is just one example in this poster behind me. this is an example taken today from the website of riddell's parent company. do you think this single 2006
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study provides a reasonable basis for them to claim that they reduce concussions by 31% compared to traditional helmets? >> no, i do not. i am aware of the study and what i said was that there is no significant data to make the claim in the literature. i know that study is in the literature. there are two main problems with that study. the first is the quality of the study itself, how would was set up in trying to look at two different populations, one wearing a certain kind of helmet and one wearing a different one. you want them to be as equal as possible. that was not well done in that study. to the point where i would not consider the state designed to be acceptable scientific protocol. the second and critique is the
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31% figure is relative to the change. the populations that have the old, had a 7.6% concussion rate over the study time frame. -- the populations that have the new helmet have 7.6% conversion rate over the study time frame. when you present the numbers the way they did, they will think that it is 31% fewer concussions. actually, it was 2.6%. >> and you can see why a parent who would be concerned about concussions with all the increasing awareness out there would see something like this and see 31% and think, i'm going to get a really protective helmet for my child.
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and really, what we are talking about is something very misleading. >> i do see that every week in my clinic. patients come in with their parents sang they want to buy the new helmet, this is the concussion on the, what do you think about it? this is a real conversation i have all the time. >> and they are asking that question over and over again. >> correct. >> typically, what do you tell them and what do they do afterwards? >> the most important thing is i advise them to have a new home if you can get one. avoid a reconditioning thing where you do not know if the helmet is of two standards. -- is up to the standards. make sure it fits correctly. after that, i say look at the different manufacturers and if money is not an option, by the highest one on the line. you cannot have a concussion without force.
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but force is not the only thing going on here. if i took 100 athletes, or 100 people, and concussed them. you'll get 100 different responses. or a blow to that, the same thing. -- a blow to the head the, the same thing. you get 100 different responses. it is a force acting on a brain that is very individualized and very dynamic. at the end of the day, if i'm going to get a helmet that gives the and least amount of force through, that is the one you want to get. notwithstanding the whole complexity of the issue. >> thank you. senator klobuchar. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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again, i heard about this, really, for the first time -- you had heard stories in my state, but at this big dinner that they have in minnesota. an athlete came and spoke about the research and i just walked away from that sort of blown away about the facts that are out there and the need for more education. i then held up an alzheimer's forum this summer. one of the things that i learned was, just as early diagnosis this summer and what i learned is that a lot of the players are donating their brains, those that it dementia, to research. and early diagnosis could really help us, not just the patient, but could help us potentially develop a cure. the mayo clinic was able to do more because they have these advanced ways to recognize early diagnosis.
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you cannot practice different kinds of solutions and medications and things without knowing the early on. if you wait too long when someone is to advance, you cannot actually tell if something is working or not. do you want to comment on that? >> absolutely. you have to have some sort of test that can monitor the course of a disease in order to tell if it is being affected in a living patient. you have to develop diagnostic markers, by no markers of both concussion -- biomarkers of both concussion and sub- concussion. as well as cte. they are all different. and that way, once we develop these experimental models in the lab and get to the point where we are testing them on
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living people, we can actually see if they're working. without doubt, we cannot tell if they are working or not. >> and a doctor at the headquarters based in minnesota, we are proud of the work being done in our state. could you talk about the work being done for practice guidelines so that we are able to get guidelines for athletes, and if there is any scientific data available on that? >> right now, if you look at the literature, you will see maybe a dozen or more consensus statement. the groups get together and come up with what the experts think it should be the best way to approach a diagnosis and management of concussions. but today, there is not a way to look at the totality of literature in a critical way. looking at the totality of the data and coming up with what we have that is evidence based in this issue.
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that is what the effort was. we started this two and half years ago. it is a committee of 12 people, 7 neurologist and five non- neurologist. these are people from sports medicine, neurosurgery, psychiatrist. the goal is to look at where we go -- where we are and where we need to go. the goal here -- and we are hoping to be published in the spring of 2012 -- is to set forth for the steps or that we need to take to get the data that we are doing something that is evidence based. >> thank you. i know that organizations like the brain injury association, fl, center for disease control are working to educate the public.
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as students who have had this happen, what do you think is the best way to get this information out to your fellow students and players? >> i believe there is a lot of progress being made already through educational, informational seminars. i know what the school that i was at in arizona, there was a protocol that they have to attend a class, their parents have to attend a class, coaches have to, i think, just as a requirement to understand what the brain is and how serious an injury is. >> we did that this summer, too. >> i think awareness is spreading and it will only increase to gain significant. >> i agree with preventative measures -- we are doing high school, but if we can start even number at a youth and sports centers.
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soccer is very prevalent among the youth. and in new mexico, different clubs are taking initiatives to teach about concussions. i think that should be spread out to the teams and the parent as well. once people are aware of how serious a concussion can be, that will help us take the next up for. >> after you had your concussions and you decided not to keep playing, did you have any pressure from your peers to keep playing, your parents, other players? >> i personally did not. all of my doctors, fellow players, coaches were very supportive of my decision to stop playing. >> i think people respect your decision to stop. obviously, they want you to keep line because they miss you playing with them, but overall, if people were very supportive. >> thank you both for being here. >> thank you, senator klobuchar. senator pryor.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you for having this hearing. it is a very important issue that touches this country all over the map and in many different sports. let me start with you, if i may, mr. oliver. i would like a bit of context on the legal framework, in terms of -- or their state laws -- are there state laws on helmets in sports? are there conferences like affleck conferences at high schools and associations -- like high-school athletic conferences and associations? when it comes to football, do they have standards? what is the legal framework? but the legal framework is actually fairly simple. -- >> the legal framework is actually fairly simple. the standards that we publish -- that is the best example because it applies across the board to other sports. we publish the standards that
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our performance standards that indicate what the homeless are supposed to do to meet the standards. with an organization, for example, like the n.c.a.a., they will incorporate in their rules of play a requirement that there athletes -- that their athletes meet the requirements of standards. >> in terms of the home at themselves? >> in terms of the helmets. you cannot play unless it is certified as meeting our standard. >> and they also change the rules in terms of hitting the quarterback and contact and that type of thing absolutely. -- that type of thing. >> absolutely. the same process applies to high schools through the national azko federation. although, because it is a federation it does not control directly the states individually, but they participate voluntarily.
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some states, for example, california has a law that requires at the high school level that athletic equipment be sanitize on annual basis. that has been interpreted to mean that the helmets must also be reconditioned. if they are reconditioned and that means they will be recertified and that means they will be subject to reevaluation. >> which means new pads, no cracks -- >> exactly. and they are tested before they are reconditioned and afterward. but that is the only state to my knowledge that actually imposes that requirement by law. >> on the high-school level, is and it generally voluntarily -- isn't it generally voluntary? >> on the high-school level, there is a requirement on any basis at that level. >> how long is it good for? is it good for one season before
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it needs to be reconditioned? >> that depends on how hard a helmet is used and what types of abuse it has been subjected to. anytime i am contacted we strongly recommend that helmets be subjected to recertification every year, because there's no way to tell in advance whether it needs it or does not. and we know this because of the data that we get back every year, that about 90% of the helmets that we recondition and certify have been in the previous year. a large percentage of them are done on an annual basis. what is not happening, and is something that we are trying to address both through the cpsc as well as individual workers, those that are not subject to state control or n.c.a.a. control where very little is known about the population of those elements, if they do not cause submit them to a recertification program or
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replace them on their own, there is no umbrella organization that is in charge of most of those players in those clubs. that needs to be addressed. >> is the general life expectancy of a football helmet? >> it depends on the manufacture. ridell has put a 10-year lead on their helmets. they don't allow, that are older than 10 years to be reconditioned or recertified. that has been their policy for a long time. one of the other major manufacturers has said as long as that on that is properly cared for and probably reconditioned which means parts replaced, patting replaced, shell inspected, at the end of 10 years, the only part of that, that is 10 years old will probably be the shell and you can't replace that in the reconditioning process. if it is cracked, it is done.
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it depends on the moment and the company and how well it is cared for. >> dr. kutcher - you maybe have covered this earlier - what is the age scale we're looking at four concussions in sports? i assume you have some early ages but do they get more common and more severe as you get older, as the players get bigger, stronger, faster? is that how that works? >> the range goes down to the youngest athlete you can imagine whenever they start playing organize sports like 7, 8, 9- years old. as they mature and get faster and stronger, you will see larger impacts and more injuries. as they go up to junior high and high school, you will see greater numbers of concussions
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and there is data that shows that every level you go up from organized youth too high school, to college to prose, the incidences' will go up. and that is because the play is a little bit faster and athletes are a little stronger. the other ideas that the younger kids may have more complex surgery -- injuries that it may be more difficult to get them back as quick. that adds a different wrinkle. >> one more question -- when i think of concussions in sports, i think of football. i may be totally wrong on that. is that the most common? what is the list of the most risky sports four concussions? >> football is at the top of the list. it is way ahead of everybody else. it is tough to get good data
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that compares in sports because you have to study it in the same population. there are some pretty good studies that have been looked at in the high-school population in fairfax county, va.. they looked at the different sports and football have about double the incidence of the next highest sport which i believe was lacrosse. women's soccer was right there. then after that, it was men's soccer, wrestling, basketball, softball going down the list. i sought was not in that study but i would put that a little lower than football. -- ice hockey was not in that study by would put the little lower than football. >> thank you. we can start another round. every time the bell rings, that is telling you precisely that there is nothing happening. [applause] [laughter] it is only one key to winning that we have to go vote.
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ms. ball, we are talking about soccer. mr. streeth, t justony romo, your slant on to the ground. -- you were slammed onto the ground. it is often hard. there are so many ways and football to see how they revenge hit or a main player who is famous for that and love is that and gets endorsements because of it, commercial endorsements -- soccer is extremely brittle, -- extremely brutal, exhausting, in a huge theater where it is usually four
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goals scored and that is it. in thinking about myself and have watched a lot of it because of that becausetriumph, it is ball or youhe probably are slammed to the ground or tripped up. there is a lot to pick up. -- there is a lot of tripping up. if it was ranked number 3, what are some of the ways that concussions come about in soccer other inheading the ball? is it heading the ball from any part of your head? >>heading the ball tends to be relatively safe if you use your forehead.
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concussions come when you take the ball on the top of your head most likely from punt or when a ball gets shot out at you happened to be in the way. concussions can occur if it hits you on this side of the head. the most common way of s experience a concussion was your head to the ground. i got my legs knocked out and when you hit your head and the ground, you're watching the ball. that might happen and you don't see that the fire goes down and hit their head. oftentimes, those thoughts are bypassed. you're not aware because you are following the ball. another risky areas when you are involved in complications with the goalie. i have seen goalie's get their heads kicked and i have some players going up against the goalies in getting kneed in the head. there are many different circumstances where you could get a concussion. >> like talky. >> yes.
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>> there is so much work to be done by so many. as a sports fan, you watch college and professional football and there is almost an instant to look for the player who plays dirty and then if he does you turn your wrath on roger goodell and the nfl for not having him ejected from the game. referees can find them or push them back 15 yards. they should be ejected from the game. how do influence? ? young men who play football are in it to win. they don't have long careers. how long is your career?
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>> the running back as the shortest career. >> yes, so the desperation to succeed -- how thieu -- how you get that stuff? someone gives you a lecture in the locker room on concussions, i'll bet that the people are not listening. >> yes, and i like it is difficult especially in football from the defensive side of the game, violence is probably the biggest characteristic. you need to be successful on defense. you have to be able to be violent. >> you have to prove it. >> right, that is part of a football game. as far as that sport is considered, i feel like it is more the understanding about brain injury and understanding of the recovery process as opposed to changing the game and getting rid of head-to-head
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combat -- contact and that aspect. more of it is when the recovery happens because there will always be big hits in football. a lot of them are legal. there are blows to the body as well as the head. >> if you get clobbered in the chest or something, that can't concuss you? >> absolutely. >> i missed that. >> anytime your head moves. >> what kind of hit will do that? >> it from the body or the cider anything that transmits enough force to stop your movement. >> that means tight bands should be large. >> that could do it. >> the perfect example of that
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-- last year we heard about the desean jackson injury. if you watch that the hit in slow motion, you will see there is no head-to-head combat between the tackling player and then sell. he was in the shoulder but it snapped his head violently forward and violently backward as he is going down. that is exactly the kind of mechanics you're talking about. you have these concussions we don't have a blow to the head of the had itself is moving so rapidly. the brain does not have time to catch a to itself and it gets folded over and compressed. >> i'm over my time once again. i think everyone. i have to leave to go to a cyber security hearing. that is a different kind of threat.
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senator udall will take over the hearing. oh - he could of been a tight end. [laughter] >> wide receiver. >> there you go. >> i appreciate that very much. thank you for holding the hearing and thank the panelists for sharing your thoughts with us. i want to follow up on the line of questioning that was started earlier. you are seeing participation at an all-time high in terms of young people across the country participating in sports and an incredible number of sports- related injuries. when most people think of concussions, we think about football. there are lots of other sports where we see that the i am interested in knowing -- we have
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a lot of young people participating in football, for example. i have a 11-year-old nephew who got a concussion and is out for a month. it was a hit where he had his head on the ground. with young people out there, more and more injuries are occurring at an earlier age. is that something that we should be concerned about? are we starting kids too early in sports like football or they are experiencing concussions at higher rates than in the past? what is your perspective in the rise of concussions? also your thoughts about are some of these kids capable enough that they can take the shots they are taking at that age and the types of injuries
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they are sustaining an early age? >> i will start. the issue with concussions being up, or we see more of them, it has three main causes. the biggest one is awareness. that would explain the vast majority of increased numbers we see over the past five-six years. the second one would be kids being faster and stronger at younger ages than playing perhaps more violently. also at our games have changed. if you look at how football has evolved, i had one of our ex- coaches, an old-time coach lecture me on how people have been blocking over the years and passing over the years and now we see more hitting and less tackling. on the defunds of sight, the point in football is to stop the ball.
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for those three reasons, the numbers are up. as far as concussions and younger ages, i think there is a sense for me that we have to keep track of the dose of hits that the kids are taking. at younger ages, you want to be more careful. do we want to postpone when you can hit in hockey or wearing pads and playing tackle football? that is a very good idea but it is more complicated than that. at some point, kids have to learn how to hit and how to be head and neck and only come with practice. that is a complicated question. >> i look at the advances in equipment. my dad played football in the late 1930's. he was a senior in high school in 1937 and they had leather helmets and he was one of the 30
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pounds and played middle linebacker and was hitting guys coming across. he got knocked cold in one game. they treated everything with whiskey in those days. when i played in the 1970's, the hamas got better and look at the at least today and the equipment has improved a lot. they have that amount of padding and protective gear that athletes can wear. we have made great advancements that as you have said, these athletes are bigger, stronger, faster and the hits that i watch every sunday on the nfl, there is some real contact being made there. you wondere if the type of equipment we have is up for that. in some of these other sports like soccer and rugby and water polo, they have not traditionally required a lot of safety gear. is there additional equipment available that could lessen
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injuries and concussions in those type of sports? >> i can address that in general. whatever you can do to reduce the severity of concussions for the frequency or perhaps eliminate some concussions in one sport would be the same as another. you are talking about the same brain responses, the same input forces, the same acceleration. if you can determine how that can be done from a bio- mechanical and by a physical standpoint and football, you can probably figure that out and other sports for the key is finding those answers that would let you address it in a particular sport and you can extend those by reference to other sports if you can get to that point. >> anybody else want to add to that? ok, my time has expired, thank
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you. >> thank you senator thune. senate boseman? >> very quickly -- it seems like probably 99.9% of the injuries that are suffered are not due to current equipment failure. your pet door there and something did not break -- your pads were there and something did not break. most of the equipment is working pretty well. this is such a difficult problem. i don't worry so much about the bill hits that we say where someone has to be helped off the field because we know something is wrong. i worry more about the injury where you tackle somebody and as
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you tackle them, he knees you in the face and you can get up but we are conditioned or you guys were conditioned to play through injury and you go ahead and stay out there. the way i would like to close it is, very briefly, we have a lot of moms and dads and coaches and players that are watching the best. very quickly, is there any message that you could send that to the parents about how you can be better prepared to deal with this? if it does come up? >> from the athletes standpoint, increasing their ability to be honest with coaches and parents and athletic trainers and understanding for themselves when something does not feel right, lightheadedness,
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dizziness, and a sentence -- if the sentence are known and they start filling those, it needs to be required that they make that known. it can happen on a hit. i have had ones that happens onnot said their pets. -- not sever hits. >> is important to address your symptoms when you have them but give yourself a little bit of extra time. that can prevent you from maybe not having to endure career if you give yourself those few extra days of leeway. you can prevent the long-term injury that way. >> the recognition of the injury issue is huge. athletes hide their injuries, i know that. i see that everyday. acutely concussed people don't know they are concuss. they are not aware of it. that falls on responsibility of everybody else around, teammates, coaches, parents,
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whoever, to look after them. when a kid says they are fine, you have to question that a little bit. i am starting to see teammates coming to me and saying i think he is not right, go check in now. once it has been recognized, you have to report that to the medical staff or whoever. in need to have that athlete removed from participation and allow them to recover fully before the get back to apply. it is recognition, reporting, removing, and recovery 4 r's. >> i don't see this problem going away with equipment. i think the equipment will improve this issue but it will not solve this issue. we really have to address the way sports are played, the nature, the style of play, the amount of hitting that we allow, the amount of contact we allow
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and that is what will make a tremendous difference down the road. even a perfect helmet, there'll always be those acceleration/deceleration with less forces we cannot control. >> mr. oliver? >> i would echo the panel's comments. there are a number of interventions that need to be enforced and encouraged. depending on the circumstances, one may be more important than another but overall you cannot avoid any of them. to the extent that you should not just rely on better diagnosis, you cannot rely just on having good equipment. you have to do all of those things. you have to change the attitudes of the players and parents about reporting those symptoms and take that stigma away from being macho or strong or invincible. one thing i have seen that has been affected is changing behavior based upon some of the
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data that has been collected at the collegiate level for the helmet instrumentation. they noticed the ability to identify players who have more has on the top of their crown of there, then other players which should not be happening. the university of north carolina specifically, they identify those players engaging in behavioral modification so that they are taking that act out of the game. if you start at the beginning with youth players and teach those coaches and players that you don't hit with the top of your head or a hit with your head at all, the, is there to protect you in case you get hit in cannot avoid it, you change those things, he make significant reductions and a number of concussions and the severity and you certainly can reduce the chance of having these catastrophic consequences and returning to play too soon or having multiple concussions that and not properly treated that allow you to heal. i don't but you can ignore one
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or 31 more important than the other. >> thank you. i want to return a little bit to some of the misleading claims on equipment. there has been a lot of discussion about equipment and docmckee about aanti- guards.ion mouth- have you seen this one used by 11 years and under? this mouth guard was purchased last month. the product packaging states that this now reduces the risk of concussion and creates brain space. given your firsthand knowledge of repetitive brain trauma, are you troubled by this type of marketing for youth sports
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equipment? do you think young athletes who have already had a concussion might be a particularly susceptible to advertising claims for so-called anti- concussion devices? >> there is no clear evidence that any mouth guard or chin guard reduces heated the rate or severity of concussion. i would have great objection to this claim. the only thing i am aware that mouth guards and chin guard to do is reduce oral and dental injuries. the nature of concussions would not be improved by the use of mouth guards. >> i know you were not able to see the one i was holding up. i will pass it around in case you see anything else on you want to comment on. >> i agree on that. i don't know what brain save the space really means.
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-- safety space remains. that is alarming. >> there is a diagram on there. shows a space and it says it creates brain and space. >> from some of the work that has been done with helmets on football players and saying that what forces they end up having clinically diagnosed concussions, those conditions -- those concussions are taking place under a number of conditions. it could take the amount of force that is 115 and reducing it to 110 are so -- or so because of a mouth guard, concussions can occur from any which way. that will not addressed this. m >>s. ball mentioned headbands
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and soccer. -- in soccer. you discuss the potential harm from creating a false sense of security when companies falsely claim that products prevent concussion. this is not just about helmets or football. here is another example. this is a protective pad band sold to soccer players and other athletes. this is an image taken from this company's web site that says this can come between you and a head injury. does this type of advertising for a protective headband trouble you? is there a danger that a young athlete might put him or herself at greater risk of injury if they believe that this had banned will come between them and they had injury? >> i believe there is a problem there. this type of advertising is v little moreague because it -- is a little more vague because it
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mentions head injury and not concussion. it may prevent bruises that there is no data that supports it decreases the risk of a concussion. in my own practice, i have seen athletes who have become more aggressive and have entered themselves and others because they have a headband on and they get involved in head to head its when it would not have done that without the equipment before. >> go ahead. >> we have seen this with helmets as well as devices like headbands. a player who has sustained a concussion now sees this or the parents see this as an answer. it is not only a false sense of security from being protected from the first concussion but being protected because i just
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add one and this will give you an extra layer. it is incredibly dangerous. >> did either of you has at least experienced this in terms of the headbands? >> i did not think about a critically of it was doing something for me. if i had my headband on, i would play more aggressively. i thought for some reason that i would be secure from getting another concussion by didn't have my head gear on, i played much more differently. >> mr. streeth? >> i used a different variety of football helmets i would always get a new one after a concussion. i would also made brands and styles i tried different things but the risk is still there.
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>> that is common, by the way. when you get a concussion, that -- you go on to the next brand. >> the equipment managers might say that, to try a different style and do better next time. >> let me return to the ridell helmet testimonial claim. in a july 23, a 2010 memorandum, the head athletic trainers, coaches, and nfl commissioner roger goodell wrote, "is important to remember that no, it can prevent concussions or reduce the risk of concussions to an unspecified degree." yet one nfl head athletic trainer made several product endorsements for they ridell
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revolution football helmet pe. tim breem of the chicago bears says we have had some players who have had ongoing problems with head injury and made the switch to the new protective head gear when it came out at its inception and these players have had no problems since a ban or no repeated concussions. dr. kutcher do expect a high school football team to have no repeated concussions after switching from traditional, designs to ridell revolution helmets? >> no. >> pretty straightforward. >> this is beyond my level of expertise. >> mr. oliver, i want to ask about the maximum life span of
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football helmets. i think he talked about that a little bit in relation to senator pryor question you. starting next year, they will no longer recondition helmets that are 10 years or older. nara executive director stated that he would not want his son wearing a helmet that old. executive director said he would never let this kid where a, that is more than 10 years old. ralph copnrad's son was wearing a 20-year-old helmet when he suffered a brain injury. he wrote to mate power is possible that our son was issued a helmet for years older than he was? why does the noxi standard not
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set a standard? >> >> there are a number of reasons why we do not. if it is a 10-year-old helmut that has never been used or has been used two seasons, should it be replaced simply because it has three -- reached a birthday of three years -- 10 years? it does not mean any more or less protected than the home of a similar age. the other thing has to do with whether you are using a 10-year life because there's been a change in technology. if 10 years ago, there was a radical change in the technology of the elements -- helmets in that the older ones to knock provide the same level of protection, region do not provide the same level protection, it would make sense to cut it off.
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one reason we set a life span is because we maintain our standards as design neutral. part of the design neutral process is not to impose on the manufacture an obligation to use a particular type of material, shape, were designed to allow for innovation and progress. if the helmet company makes it and says it is good for 10 years as long as it is recertified, they must have data to support that. we do know this from reconditioning and testing data. helmets that are reconditioned and inspected, the test numbers look very much like they did when it was brand new. there is no way for us as an
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association or organization to set the standards to say from our tests that a helmet that scores as it did when it was new to be replaced. schools may have to replace half of them when they do not need to be replaced. right now, there are revolution helmets on the market approaching eight years old. there has been a great move from the older style to the newer style. if there is a lemet used to date that is a years old and has been properly cared for and retested on an annual basis, what is it that happens at 10 years that makes it suddenly need to be thrown away it was safe at eight or nine years? we do not have the data to suggest that.
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i think the decision made was a policy decision for helmets older than 10 years. i know they see some better 20 years old. >> does noxi require a clear label of date of manufacture and reconditioning? >> we do require both of those things. >> do you know how many high school or younger football players are wearing helmets 10 years or more in age? >> we do not know that. we know the data from the he lments sent back for reconditioning. this is a ballpark figure pick. approximately 92% of them are less than 10 years of age. it will vary from year to year. that is the best we can come up
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with. >> to those better 10 years and older and still meet current noxi standards? >> they will if they have been properly reconditioned. if they do not, they will get tabled and not make it through the reconditioning process. >> i am shifting the issue a bit. i think both physicians realize there has been a lot of evidence recently on supplements. this has surprised me. there is a company selling supplements that claims to protect against concussions. it is called sports brain guard. what are your thoughts about supplements and concussions? i will send one of these down to you. do you have any thoughts on that? >> i do.
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one of the dhea products -- much like the other discussions, there is no data that this type of thing will prevent concussions at all. and go back to the conversation we had earlier about the amount of time and money that has gone into neuro-protective agents for strokes. we in the a lot of research on them and do not have anything there. >> let me briefly say in closing, thank you to the entire panel. i think your testimony has been very helpful.
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i think parents and families are increasingly wanting to hear more about this. i think the way you have engaged this today helps them a lot. the issue of awareness, all of you have talked about raising the awareness level. we need more education. we need to start yonder. those are very important points. the second thing i am passionate about is the idea of misleading claims when it comes to equipment. it seems to me there is so much work we need to do their to educate people -- to do there to educate people. buyer beware. when you have one of these products, whether it is a supplement, a mouth guard, you
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need to look deeper than the advertisements. let me thank you again. the hearing is adjourned.
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c-span [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> this weekend, six republican
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candidates travel to des moines. watch our live coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. eastern today on the road to the white house. >> tomorrow, a look at the impact of muammar gaddafi's death on libya. after that, a discussion on the social security increase with the executive director. then the latest developments in the 2012 presidential campaign. that is live at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> on sunday, senator tom harkin will talk about the recent work on the new child left behind at -- no child left
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behind act. >> to me, is very obvious -- it is obvious that every decision the national government makes, every close call made in favor of economic growth, everything should be based on the growth of the private sector. >> he worked as an advisor in the reagan white house, omb director in george bush's administration, and created a budget surplus. his new book is -- he will discuss his new book and decision not to run for president in 2012. >> on the final day of a three- day bus tour, president obama stops at a military base in
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hampton, virginia. they announced that the american logistics association has committed to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses by the end of 2013. this is about 45 minutes. >> good morning, everyone. let me hear you. i have been in the army for over 26 years. i am presently an army colonel in the reserves. i have had 10 years on active duty. i have about 16 years and counting in the army reserve. for the last 10 years, i have
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also worked as an attorney for tyson foods. i am also the chair of their veterans resource group promotes veterans' positive leadership values and the various ways we can use those values to benefit our company. there is no pressure for me today. i have my ceo of tyson foods and my commander in chief in the wings. it is a big day. i am here to share my experiences as a corporate lawyer but mostly as a military officer. in 2008 and 2009, i deployed to iraq and dagestan -- afghanistan. i led several versus project management teams. we were responsible for over $220 million worth of conditions -- communications upgrades.
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i led my teams and pushed our contractors to have the products completed on time and under budget. that included installing survival communication infrastructure like barry fiber- optic cable, installing satellite systems, computer server rooms, and managing the construction of buildings. we worked with government contractors, sister services, active duty units, anyone else that we needed to to get the job done. project management can be a challenge. project management in a war zone is a challenge. our militaries restrain this to be leaders, flexible, innovative, and -- trained us to be leaders, flexible, innovative. we were able to get the projects done on time and under budget.
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those a the kind of people you need to hire to get the job done in your company. as a soldier, i want to take this opportunity to thank those of you in the audience who represent companies to supply products to our commissaries and exchanges around the world, to people like me, my soldiers, the airmen, and their families. i cannot tell you what a treat it is to have access to small exchanges in rome wrote -- remote areas of the world. i am one of over 3000 veterans to work for one of those companies, tyson foods. as a member of corporate america, i am proud that the same companies that supply our military are stepping up to the plate again with their pledge to hire thousands of veterans and military spouses. the veterans in particular will be thankful for the opportunity to have a good job when they get off of active duty or when the reservist or national guardsmen returns from deployment.
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i guarantee it will be your companies that benefit the most from their professional skills sets, positive attitudes, work ethic, and unequaled leadership abilities. an exceptionally appreciative for the emphasis this administration has placed on hiring our veterans. i am also thankful that michelle obama has chosen to support a family embers and their overall well-being as one of the pillars of her service. [applause] mrs. obama and dr. biden joined forces to mobilize all sectors of society to give our service members and their families the opportunity and support they burned. for this, i personally thank michelle obama. it is my great pleasure to
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introduce -- please join me in giving a warm welcome to the commander in chief of the united states of america, president barack obama, and his wife, the first lady of the united states of america, michelle obama. [cheers and applause] [cheers and applause] >> hey, everyone. this is really cool.
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i am thrilled and honored to be here. i never get to do anything with my husband. [laughter] i have not seen him in three days. it is good to see you. you are looking good. you all are looking good as well. we are proud to be here. we're proud of you all. let me thank melissa for her service and for that wonderful introduction and for everything that she has done, along with her family, for this country. it is one of my greatest pleasures as first lady meeting folks like melissa and all of you here today, hearing your stories, surely seeing your strength. -- truly seeing your strength. i cannot tell you how much to inspire me and all of us. it is just something to watch. you have inspired me not just to
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back in awe but to step forward in action. we want to rally this entire nation around our veterans and military families because we know how incredible all of you are. you are veterans. [applause] [cheers and applause] we want america to know that you are veterans that have completed missions with enough variables involved to make most people's heads spin. are trained in state of the art technology and managed dozens or hundreds of your peers. when the stakes are highest, that is when you are at your best. your families are just as amazing. yes, for the military spouses.
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[cheers and applause] military spouses packed in a full day of work. many of them get the children to piano lessons, volunteer fund- raisers, skyping with loved ones deployed overseas, with of dinner, put the kids into bed, and then steady at night. that is an average day. for a military spouse, that is just wednesday. i am exhausted just thinking about it. i am so very proud. for most folks, that is the kind of day that would leave us too exhausted to move. but it is not a big thing for the military thousand spouses -- for the military spouses.
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we're proud of you. we want people to know that you have many skills that are second nature like time management, people skills, complex decision making, and other incredible skills. that is the reason we are here today. those are precisely the skills we need in workplaces across america. the truth is that sometimes employers may not always know about all that you have to offer. they might have trouble understanding a military presence may or they may see a spouse that has lived in five cities in seven years as a red flag instead of a reality of military life. today i am proud to announce that the american logistics association has said they will step up and do something about that. today they are committing to hiring 25,000 veterans and military spouses in the next two years. [cheers and applause]
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they want employees to have the best -- businesses to have the best employees. this is a huge deal. this commitment includes 270 companies of all shapes and sizes. it makes it the largest coordinated effort by the private sector to hire veterans that we have seen in years. [applause] this commitment puts us 1/4 of the way towards meeting the president's challenge to the private sector to hire or trained 100,000 veterans and
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military spouses by the end of 2013. [applause] the business of making this pledge includes name brands like procter & gamble, tyson foods, hewlett-packard, and also smaller companies like prime- time services that is planning to hire hundreds of military veterans and spouses next year. today's announcement builds on the efforts of businesses and organizations already under way across the country. siemens has hired hundreds of veterans this year. sears is increasing the number of veterans and military spouses and their work force by 10%. they just made that announcement this week. the chamber of commerce has posted job fairs for veterans in cities across the country. companies like kmart and sam's club have promised us that if a
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military spouse the work for them has to move to a new duty station, they will do their very best to have a job waiting for them when they arrive. [applause] these are bold commitments. these are companies that are making these pledges not just because it is the right thing to do or because it feels patriotic, they are also doing it because it is good for the bottom line. it is good for business. they know that veterans and military spouses like all of you today represent the best our country has to offer. they want you on their team. that is what joining forces is all about. it is about tapping into all of the goodwill already out there across this country in every sector of society. it is important for you to know that.
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sometimes it feels like a struggle, like as a nation we do not know what you have sacrificed. but know that people are stepping up. they're doing it every day. they are doing it with pride and pleasure. they are challenge -- challenge -- channelling that effort into making a difference. that is what we want to do for you. it is truly a win-win for everyone. the motto of joining forces is very simple. everyone can do something to honor and support the brave men and women who have served us all so well. i am about to introduce this guy here. that is what he does every day.
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during his presidency, he has directed the federal government to help with child care in military families, to address veterans homelessness, to step on mental health issues, and provide unprecedented support to military families. it is my pleasure to introduce the man fighting for you every single day. get the cameras ready. [laughter] [applause] it is your commander-in-chief and my husband, the president of the united states, barack obama. [cheers and applause] >> thank you very much. i hate following michelle. [laughter]
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she is so good. how lucky am i to be married to michelle obama? [cheers and applause] for human not yet married, let me explain. the goal is to marry up, to try to improve your gene pool. we're lucky to have her as the first lady of the united states, i think. [applause] i am thrilled to be here. i want to thank the outstanding leaders who welcomed us here today. michael donnelly is here today. general, the colonels are here.
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i want to give a shout out to your outstanding senior in listed leaders -- enlisted leaders [applause] i want you to give the big round of applause to the heritage of america banned. [applause] we have a lot of folks in the house. we have air combat command. [applause] we have the air base wing. [applause] we have the first fighter wing. [applause] with our amazing f-22 rapids. i want to ride in one of those sunday. we will have to set that up.
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we have the 480th intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance wing. [applause] they can cheer, but they cannot talk about what they can do. they would have to kill you. [laughter] i want to salute cathy, chr istine, and the extraordinary military spouses here as well. [applause] we are inspired by them. michelle is an honorary military spouse because she has to put up with me. we both share incredible admiration for the families of those serving in uniform. we are grateful to our veterans who are here, including some
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very special darman -- airmen. we're thrilled to be joined by some of the legendary tuskegee airmen in the house. [cheers and applause] that is what heroes look like, right there. i want to acknowledge your governor and his lovely wife for joining us here today. [applause] as well as congressman bobby scott, who is in the house. i want to thank all of the business leaders who have committed to hiring our nation's heroes.
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those of you here who have worn the uniform of these united states have done so with honor and distinction. some of the most dangerous places in the planet, you have heroically performed and then everything asked of you. already, your generation has a special place in america's history. for that, you have a grateful nation. like michelle said, do not forget how everybody understands what you have done for this country. over the past decade, nearly 3 million service members, like many of you, our 9/11 generation of veterans, have made the transition back to civilian life. they have taken their leadership experience, their mastery of cutting edge technology, their
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ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and they have become leaders here at home in businesses across the country. think about how many veterans have led their comrades on life- and-death missions by the time they're 25. that is the kind of expense every business in america should want to take advantage of. those of americans every company should want to hire. -- those are the americans every company should want to hire. those are the veterans are coming home having to struggle to find a job worthy of their experience. there are too many military spouses who have a hard time finding work after moving from base to base and city to city. that is not right. it does not make any sense. it does not make sense to our veterans, businesses, families,
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or america. [applause] if you can save a life in afghanistan, you can save a life in a local hospital or ambulance. if you can oversee millions of dollars of assets in iraq, you can help businesses balance their books here at home. . if you can double the demands of raising a family while the husband or wife is at war, you can juggle the demands of any job in the united states of america. [applause] we ask our man in women in uniform -- men and women in
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uniform to leave their families, our reservists to leave their jobs, we ask you to fight, sacrifice, and risk your lives for our country. the last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home. not here, not in the united states of america. [applause] this has been one of my top priorities. that is why we are funding the post-9/11 gi bill that is helping veterans and their family members pursue a college education. it is why we fought to make sure the bill included non-college degrees and on-the-job training. it is why i have directed the federal government to lead by example and hire more veterans, including 100,000 as of this
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month. it is also why we are here today. as michelle mentioned, back in august i challenge to america's businesses to hire or train 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. [applause] now just a few months later, thanks to the extraordinary companies here today, we're already 1/4 of the way there. they have already committed to train or higher 25,000 veterans and spouses in the next two years. that is incredible. it is a testament to their good business sense, their sense of patriotism, to the fact that
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these veterans and military families of some of the most talented, trained, and experienced citizens we have. it is a testament to their commitment to their country. we are living through an economic crisis that partly came about because too many individuals and institutions were only thinking about their own interests. they embraced an ethic that said, what is good enough for me is good enough. the men and women of the united states armed forces have a different ethic. you and your families believe in something greater than your own ambition. you have embraced an ethic that says the only thing that is good enough is what is best for the united states of america. [applause]
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by making a commitment to these brave men and women, the companies represented here today have shown they have the same as that -- ethic. they share the belief that we're all in this together. these companies are showing they care about this country and those who served it. not just with words and slogans or tv ads, but with the choices they are making. as president and commander in chief, i thank you for that. i also want to thank my extraordinary wife and dr. joe biden -- dr. jill biden for leading the effort for our military families and making this day possible. give them a round of applause for their efforts. [applause]
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she does all of this and she looks cute. [laughter] that is right. [laughter] considering how many veterans are out there looking for work, we cannot stop with today's announcement. we have more work to do. some of you probably know that last month i sent congress a piece of legislation called the american jobs act. it is a bull that is believed region bill that is fully paid for and the kind of bill that -- it is a bill that is fully paid for and the kind of bill that democrats and republicans have supported in the past. it has funding to rebuild our schools and teachers back in the classrooms so our children can get the education they deserve. it has a tax credit for small businesses that hire veterans. the idea is that even though many companies here today have
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committed to hiring our nation's heroes, we want to make it even easier for the businesses that have not made that commitment yet. it is the right thing to do for our veterans and for america. give smaller companies who may be interested in hiring but are having a tough time, give them a tax break if they hire a veteran. give them an even bigger tax break if they hire a disabled veteran. so far congress has not acted on this proposal, but i want you to know that i am pushing them a little bit. i am going to keep pushing them a little bit. [applause] in the coming weeks, we will hold a series of votes in the senate on individual pieces of my jobs bill. one of the votes i will urge members of congress to take is and whether or not they think it is a good idea to give companies an incentive to hire the men and
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women who risked their lives for our country. i am hopeful we can get both parties on board for this idea. when i first proposed this idea in a joint session of congress, both sides of the aisle.auded on when it comes for a vote in the senate, i expect to get votes from both sides of the aisle. do not just a plot about it. vote for it. -- do not just applaud about it. vote for it. [applause] standing up for our veterans is republicancratic or respons responsibility. it is an american responsibility. [cheers and applause] it is an obligation for every citizen who enjoys the freedom
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our heroes defend. it is time for us to meet those obligations today. this generation of veterans have learned the challenges do not end in baghdad. they continue at home. today we're saying to those veterans who have fought for us that now we're fighting for you, for more jobs, more security, the ability to keep your family's strong, the chance to keep america competitive economically in the 21st century. these are tough times for america, but we have faced tougher times before. nobody is tougher than the men and women of america's armed forces. [applause] you do not quit whenever we face a challenge in this country. weather was the depression, civil war, -- whether it was the
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depression, a civil war, when our country was attacked on that september day, we did not falter or turn back. we pick ourselves up, pushed ourselves forward, regardless with the tasks -- we got on with the tasks and the spirit that all of you represent. that is the spirit our nation needs right now. you remind us as a nation that no problem is too hard or challenges to great or destiny beyond our reach. and so theogether world why the united states of america is the greatest nation on earth. god bless you. god bless our veterans. god bless the men and women in uniform. god bless the united states of america. [cheers and applause]
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nd stripes forever" ] ♪ ♪
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>> the six republican candidates travel to des moines. watch our live coverage starting
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at 7:00 p.m. eastern today on "road to the white house." >> on sunday, senator tom harkin will talk about the recent work on the no child left behind act and the status of jobs legislation. >> every weekend, the people and events that document the american story. only once has a sitting u.s. senator been killed in action. this weekend is the 150th anniversary of the battle of ball's bluff. little tokyo near downtown los angeles has been the center of japanese culture since the early 1900's. in national monument -- the
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professor on the history of opiates in america. look for the complete weekend schedule online. >> next, remarks from three female members of the marines who served in afghanistan. the top about there are rich efforts towards the afghan people. this is hosted by women in defense. this is about 45 minutes. >> we're going to get started. i have the distinct pleasure to introduce one of my favorites. it is now on record, i will go with that. i met these women in san diego for a conference we did out there. it was so striking and reminded
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me of why i fly coast to coast to do women in defense. it reminded me of why we're doing what we're doing. i am honored to share with you today the folks from the marine corps. my oldest son is in the marine corps. i have that passion as well. i would like to introduce julienant curleolonel nethercot. she was commissioned in may of 1993 following her graduation with a bachelor's degree in science and biology, natural sciences, and chemistry. upon graduation from officers' school in 1994, she reported to duty at marine corps air station cherry point. from 1995 until 1997, she served with bravo company squadron 28.
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her entire biography is impressive. you have got it. i promised her i would not do that. she served with operation iraqi freedom i, operation and during freedom, navy central command in bahrain, she also served as the italian commander at camp pendleton. it was there that her battalion was deployed to afghanistan. you will hear more about that story today. her personal decorations are many. she has the bronze star. she is also the recipient of the 2010 award for visionary leadership. ladies and gentlemen, it is my tremendous honor to introduce lieutenant-colonel julie nethercot. [applause]
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>> it is an honor for us to be here. on behalf of the three marines you see, thank you for inviting us to join you today. we had an opportunity to meet many of you over lunch. we heard great stories and that some of our friends from san diego. it is great to learn more about the organization and what you do. thank you for having us here today. you forget how much time has passed until you hear your bio read, then you wonder where the time has gone. i just finished up my battalion command toward this spring -- tour this spring. it is 1200 marines and sailors that i was honored and blessed to lead. up to this point, it was the greatest honor of my life to lead them as in the year of
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combat with them in afghanistan. those are memories i will forever cherished. they are amazing young americans. i come to you with a rarely -- fairly recent perspective. i have brought two marines with me. you are going to get to hear from them on their perspectives. we have captain sure would on my left -- capt sherwood who served in helmand province. she is from the great state of connecticut. anyone here from connecticut? the photographer is from connecticut. [laughter] we're off to a running start. then we have sgt bryan, a member
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of my battalion. she is from the great state of virginia, danville. you have some friends. you are better off. in the next 45 minutes, i am going to give you an overview of the role of women in afghanistan from the perspective of the marines with you today. every province has a different story. our stories are mainly from helmand province. the conference theme is growing and giving. we hope what we will share with you today will go into your own experiences. when we were afghanistan, we focused on on flexibility. can we start the slide show? you are going to see a slide show in the background throughout the rest of the
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presentation. we have come a long way from what you see on the screen. those women were trailblazers. they set the stage with their personality. tenacity and perseverance. they made a difference. we would not be there -- here did not for them. we've seen many changes in the role of women in armed services. we have women flying jets, helicopters, driving trucks in hazardous conditions in afghanistan. they built dozens of other skills sets on the battlefield. the services of had to adapt to transforming battlefield. gone are the days of the rear support areas. now we deal with counterinsurgencies where the lines are vague at best. fuzzy and vague at best.
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this dynamic requires us to be flexible in thought and action to be successful. the old, lanier paradigms' fall by the wayside when you are engaging -- linear paradigms' fall by the wayside. by no means an inclusive list, i would like to introduce women in key leaderships in afghanistan and the female engagement teams that are here in my left. as many of you know, a typical assignments for women marines include all of the combat support missions, communications, military police, etc., dozens of specialties. i can tell you firsthand, their performance in afghanistan has been superb, absolutely superb. as one former commander of the logistics unit commented about the women in his unit, he said "they have performed
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exceptionally well under many circumstances. women serve as gunners and commanders throughout our control. bottom line, i did not distinguish between male and female and all were subject to the same threats. my female support played a key role in the mission." this is just one example of the changing environment for women in the service. she was the commanding officer -- for a unit. she was not only responsible for a large camp, but also the battlefield. she has an eerie and she was a
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-- she had an area issue is responsible for securing, which was a first for the marine corps -- area she was responsible for securing, which was a first for the marine corps. we pitched a full-time female engagement team and were allowed to go for it. the concept of female engagement team is not new to the marine corps. we draw upon operation iraqi freedom, which some of you heard about, which involve searching females in a culturally sensitive manner. we took what we learned from that and try to make it a little bit better for afghanistan. we were blessed to have -- we're blessed to have a captain here today to share her experiences. the program has expanded to allow for greater emphasis on long-term engagement with the
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populations. in the summer of 2009, we made a proposal to form the first full- time staff. the concept hinged on three trends we were seeing in afghanistan. first, we believe that the teams needed to be totally dedicated to the mission to better understand the population and support the villages. cultural relationships are key, and the villagers had to see the same person every time they came through. secondly, they needed to train before hand as a team in realistic scenarios with rigorous training. it could not be a pickup game. they had to train four months ended bans. lastly, they needed to understand the language as much as possible and be very familiar with the culture, since their success depended upon their ability to interact with their
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population. they had to be able to stand on their own. six months later, 40 marines from camp pendleton deployed. they had a variety of skills sets, but each was trained to have a set full time. we had a female medic, which ended up paying some dividends going into the village. these marines were screened for strong leadership, strong dedication, and the ability to act independently and confidently. language, culture, comic skills, training, they really put a lot of time into training to make -- combat skills, training, they really put a lot of time into making sure they were successful.
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with that, we will roll the video. >> in this community, you have to talk to the mills first before you can interact with the females. first before you can interact with the females. >> where are your parents? your mommy and daddy?
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>> my sister, my mother. >> your women? no women. >> we went to one compound, and there were so excited to see women there. we spoke a little bit of pashtun that we knew. women started climbing over the walls. they started trying on different outfits that they had. they even started putting on makeup for us. it was a lot of fun. >> disneyland. america? the biggest obstacle is pretty much trying to get the men to talk to the women.
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they have very strong beliefs in their culture, which makes it hard for us, especially since female linguists are hard to come by. most of the men here will not allow us to talk to their women. that has been a challenge so far. >> it does make me feel really proud to be a part of it. i do think that is something useful here for all of the companies out here, just getting our faces out there. when they see the men, not necessarily that they are here to fight, but when they see the females, they know we're not here to fight. we're not here to hurt anybody. we can talk to the men, women and children. whereas the men can only talk to the men. ♪ american woman
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stay away from me american woman ,, let me be done, hanging around my door. i do not like to see your face no more. now woman, stay away. american women ♪ >> we get care packages. it is amazing. i hope you enjoyed the video. we often get asked why we have been so is successful in afghanistan. there are many reasons. one is the ability to disseminate information to women without violating cultural norms. that has spent very helpful to
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us. also understand, they have engaged everybody. that is something the gets underestimated from time to time. they talk to the men, women and children, as you heard the young marines say. they greatly unable -- enabled the ability to pass affirmation on the battlefield. -- information on the battlefield. it is an interesting dynamic. you have now opened up the aperture of who you can effect on the battlefield -- a fact on the battlefield. you're not going to engage -- you're not going to win if you do not engage the other half of the population. they started looking at ways to help the community, get the village back on its feet.
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the connected respectful searches of women in compounds or at the checkpoints. they can also enter traditionally women's only rooms and household, which is important. because if you're a bad guy, where would you like to store the stuff? in the one place where a marine would not normally look unless they are a woman, in the kitchen, where the babies are. that was very important. they did find weapons. they did find money stashes. the sergeant and talk about that she would like. another area that we realized on deployment is their ability to soften or d escalate the situation. an afghan elders said, when we see your men, we know you are here to fight and when we see your women, we know you are here
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to help. that little phrase was more important than we realized and we saw it time and time again. ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present capt. victoria sure would. -- sherwood. [applause] >> thank you for the opportunity to speak today. i cannot even tell you how much it means to be in front of women of your caliber who have long been in the game of women in defense. i am working on the assumption that perhaps this program was getting too long and needed someone with a comparatively short biography. i'm happy to be that woman. [laughter] in all seriousness, i am here to speak to you today about a program i got to be a part of in 2009. it ended up being a bit of a
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game changer in the marine corps and the way the marine corps was using female personnel. i did not know that at the time. if you're ever confused about the extent to which you might be affecting greater change, if cnn, fox news and the associated press are behind you, there is a chance that you are. in early 2009, and deployed to afghanistan with my unit. i was a communications officer for a marine squadron. that is essentially a gas station for the air wing. of vital job, but not something i had originally thought was going to throw me on foot patrol with the italians. -- with battalions. when i arrived, i did all my training with the existing unit, which was special purpose.
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the units there had a lot of doubts about the base and they would be taking over, but i did not really get the foresight about what would become my mission. i met a really dynamic fellow who has been a wall street journal reporter for the beijing desk before coming into the marine corps. he had an interesting perspective of how to address problems that those of us wet behind the ears may be did not have. he had been on deck when a situation arose in which a local woman had been badly beaten by her husband and had hair ripped from her scout. -- her scalp. she escaped to a remote outpost where some of our combat troops
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were at the time and proceeded to the volatile lot of significant intelligence to those marines. at the same -- proceeded to divulge a lot of significant intelligence to those marines. at the same time, the marines were being told that they were supposed to be building trust with the community, but at the same time there was a hysterical woman giving him intelligence. they want to heal the woman and return her to her population. in the meantime, the captain is not sure what to do because he is not sure she was appropriately questioned. a watch officer for the same unit said, can i teach you tactical questioning and can we go out and try to locate this
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same woman again? that is what we did. this was just trying to address a real scenario he had encountered out there. when we ultimately did our turnover, he said to me, vicki, we have great success when we take her out onto patrol. she has access to the women and can give us a finger on the pulse of what is happening in the community. they can tell us what is really going on. i think it would be great if you make sure this is a program they pursue. which is what i did, but being a second lieutenant is a good idea. no matter how much paper work you have behind it i'm sure they thought i was crazy when i proposed this. they very graciously took the captain's notes and proceeded from there. fast forward about a month, we
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had completely surrounded a castle with taliban inside. the taliban put on purpose and walked out of the compound -- and walked out of the compound. how quickly could we form what became known as the female engagement team? we conducted training in country. we went out on patrol. the rest is sort of history except that in our own after actions we realized a couple of things. for instance, i was still a communications officer for my squadron. the missing man as my day job and then doing operations here and there as my platoon could allow that to happen. we decided to make this a full- time think, and the program has really grown from there.
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i joke about the microscope. someone has to be first. it is broadly not a message need to tell anyone in this room, but as some of the were saying at lunch, being first must be a lot of pressure, must be a bummer. it really is not. i got the message yesterday that another unit is looking for a female engagement team. i go to my operations officer and i am trying to tell him that there is an outage at one of our bases for communications. that is neither here nor there, but he says, by the way, did you know they're starting another female engagement team? he smiled at me and said, let's give it a year. anyway, you probably do not want to be first. i do.
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message it is not a that any of you need to hear, but i'm very happy to have been there when i was. it's as a lot about being the right person at the right time, and an excellent opportunity to turn it over to marines as capable as these. thank you for having me. [applause] >> that afternoon. times r jim bryant and like they said, and from the great state of -- i am sergeant bryant and like they said, i am from the great state of virginia. as others have said, i was part of the female engagement team. i got involved in this harebrained idea that they thought we were crazy at first about. we deployed in march of 2010. when i first got into
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afghanistan, i was with the third battalion by the iranian border. when we first got over there, the area i was in was like a perfect environment for the female engagement team. it was very low-key where we were. i met an actual female teacher where i was and i thought this was like the anomaly in afghanistan because you never heard of girls' schools. they told us about her, but they had never really seen her. they were like, we know she is here, but we do not know where. we would go out on patrol, and they would see us. we were maybe the second female team to ever go out on patrol in that area ever. first the little kids see us. they're kind of like the telephone game, because as soon as they see as, word spread like wildfire.
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once they see you, everybody knows you are there. the female teacher comes out. she speaks perfect english. she had over 60 children that were in the school. what had happened was that our civil affairs people built the school that these girls were attending. i sat down with her. she was so very bold and outspoken. i'm sitting there in all of this woman because -- awe of this woman because most of the time when you see them, they're never outside of their compounds. you have to go through the men to engage the women. most of these women have never left their compounds unless it is to go to a family member's home. the men do all the market runs. i had a funny conversation with the woman saying, i go to wal- mart back home. she kind of looked at me like, ok. i am talking to the school
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teacher and what happened was her husband was killed by the taliban and she wanted her children to get an education. she was very adamant about this. she was literally, like when she heard people talk about security in the area, she would get up in their face. i was just awestruck by this woman. she ended up being a very key role in us identifying security in the area, like problems. she pointed out taliban in the area because she wanted to make sure that her girls were going to get an education and she wanted the taliban to stay away from her girls school. we got to pass out lots of beanie babies to children. they love them. this area was perfect to engage the children. there were several compounds i went in and. ashtu. to learn posh
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i asked if i was afghan a couple of times. in this area, it was amazing for that. i spend about three and a half months there with third battalion seven marines and and we got the call up that we were going to push closer to the pakastani border. that is a completely different ball game. and did not see any women, very few children. it was a very kinetic area. the commander worked for saw it as a huge force multiplier that maybe we could get out there and they would see as in a different light than his guys going out
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there kicking down the doors. i will never forget my first patrol there. i walked out and i am kind of like not really sure yet, kind of getting a feel for the area, just following the leader, the patrol leader. they get a call and say send me over here. i walk up, and they are carrying on a little group. i'm like, what do you want me to do? they're having their own conversation. i see a guy creeping over the wall, peaking at us down the road. i am mike, whatever. i just screamed at him as loud as i could. they were like, what are you doing? i said, it is the only way they're going to get him over
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here. that is what we do at home. i'm yelling at the sky. he comes up. he does not want to talk to me. i am being my annoying self, that annoying kid, bugging him. i'm talking to him. i had an interpreter, and he starts laughing. i said, why are you laughing? he said, they do not believe you are a girl. they think you are a pre pubescent boy. i was trying to show him my hair, my butt, and stuff. of course, i got out of a car today and someone said thank you, sir. i guess much does not change when you get home.
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i asked him what he does. he said he was a farmer. i said, my family grows tobacco back in virginia. he grew watermelon. the me tell you about watermelon in afghanistan. you'll never eat watermelon in america the same year because in afghanistan it is amazing. i tell him this. everything kind of winds down and we're going back to the base. someone tell me to wait. i was like, what's up? we see this guy running across the field carrying two watermelon. he heard me tell him as anyone it to bring me the watermelon. he also won me to come talk to them later on because i was the first -- he also wanted me to come talk to them later on because i was the first female
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they had seen in the area. this guy and that giving us a lot of information, a lot of good in -- ended up giving us a lot of information, a lot of good intelligence on what was going on in the area. we even had guys that would come to me and point out where i edie's were. work.'s it was the less dangerous area of operation. for me to have had that capability to have brought that to the space, i still feel good about that to this day, because my unit is back there now and they are. sidled -- they're very excited to realize the success they had last year. f.e.t., andat i did
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i know we're going to answer a lot of questions for you guys. thank you for letting me be here today. i cannot wait to talk to you later on. [applause] >> tricia, i realize our schedule is a little bit in flux. 10 minutes for q&a? we will field whenever we can. i think there is a microphone floating around. i think we can hear you in this room. >> could you speak a little more about what the future is? as we leave afghanistan and iraq, have things been set up for your the future?
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-- have things been set up for the future? where are we outside of afghanistan and iraq? >> when we left, the british running a similar program. it has started to take on a little bit of an international feel as well. we had more requests in afghanistan than we had teams to fill them. once they really caught on and people realize the ability that the team brought to the battle space as these two marines illustrated in their stories, it really took off. outside of this, i think some other places are trying to figure out how you use that. ok. we have some music for you. stand by. whene'er mind.
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it is -- never mind. it is all part of the plan folks, if you're wondering. we did not have a band. so we put it on cd. i think other places are looking to do it. i would love to speak to you after this as well. i'm at the national war college, speaking for myself. we can give you some great point of contact to help out with your research, absolutely. >> actually worked with the british the she is talking about. they actually used one of our teams down there to start to get a feel for how f.e.t. were going to be used. there were starting up their program before we even left afghanistan. >> after this, definitely catch us and we will give you some great points of contact.
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>> i'm very proud to share the a for with such grave, a wonderful lady such as you. thank you for -- brave, wonderful lady such as you. thank you for all you have done and for adapting to everything. thank you very much. [applause] >> has the army picked up on this process as well, and to what extent have you done some training with them and some modeling? >> the army has a permanent team under special operations command. they draw heavily from the marine corps for their training. i think they're now in their second or third iteration of
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sending females through a very robust package of training. >> my husband is a former marine, and this will impress the heck out of him. [laughter] >> i want to echo the at girls comments. i am a former army officer -- the admiral's comments. in a former army officer, and i am so impressed. the wonder if he could talk about bringing women to -- i wonder if you could talk about bringing women to the table for decision making in these villages, whether it is at the
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local level or broader, across the country. >> i think these two have personal experiences, and there is a national action plan going on right now regarding how to bring women into the national security arena through various phases of conflict. we will talk about that as well. >> i know for myself, even just, i know we have another marine in the audience. when you first go into the marine corps, they are a little thrown off at first as well. ephors they're like, are you lost? -- at first they were light, are you lost? and as the deployment went on, i was telling them where we need to go, what we needed to be doing. i was able to make decisions and
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i trusted my judgment because of so much of what had happened previous because of the success that we had had. that was just a marine corps side of it. as far as the villagers went, a lot of the elders would sit down and talk to me about what was going on and we would try to make a plan with the company commander who owned that battle space, what we could do to help the issues in the area. i felt honored, like one on the marine corps side, and on the marine course -- in on the villagers side, like with the village elders. i was not seen as a woman in their eyes but i was not seem like a male either. it was a weird third role. >> on television, we see soldiers going into a village and you have children coming in hanging on their legs and
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smiling. i was curious about urals reception with children of the village. -- about your reception with children of the village. were they receptive? and a philosophical question. do you think that we're making a difference being there for that generation of children? were they fearful or what was that like? >> the children were very receptive to us. i actually do not know if i can say authoritatively that they were more receptive to us than to the men, but any time there were women, children were going to be around. i think it meant a lot to the women that we were holding their babies, providing medical care to their children, talking about their hopes and dreams. just by building relationships with the women, there was a lot
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of interaction with the children as well. i would like to think that particularly for the girls seeing us in that capacity might have been meaningful. we met and no ill will and we were there to improve their communities. -- we meant them no ill will and we were there to improve their communities. i hope they will take that with them and seek their own leadership roles. >> there was an incident with an ied that exploded and there was a little girl that was injured really badly, as far as a brain injury. she had to be medevac'd. they brought her back. they asked me to stay with her. i stayed up the whole night with her. it was her and her dad because her dad had to be there the whole time because he was her elder. i washed her hair. i gave her as much care as i could.
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i gave her her medicine. i would like to think that in made a difference in his eyes of us being in that area. . maybe before that, he had ill will toward us. i hope that changed his mind. we had a communication barrier. we did not have an interpreter. we were going back to kindergarten hand signals trying to let him know i was not going to hurt her. i just wanted to wash her hair. he came back -- we came back a couple of months later. he kept trying to tell me about a book. it was a pastu to english book that he brought back for me. i like to think that we made a difference. everywhere we were, the kids were so excited to see as. my 5-year-old son has a twin in afghanistan. i have pictures of him.
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i brought them home to show my mom because he looks so much like jackson. his dad was actually the commander. he would always tell the little boy, go to your mom. go to your mom. every time they would see us, they would be like, your mom is here. >> i know you would all rather be back in country doing what you do so well, but is there any thought of sending a team like you to our local schools? i cannot possibly imagine better role models for american girls and boys than you three. [applause] >> we will be around for a little bit. if you the question we did not get to or if you would like to
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ask it offline, we will be around for a couple of hours through the rest of your symposium. patricia is on her way out. thank you for everything. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, again, thank you for having us today. i am sure we will continue to hear from these marines in the year to come. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> this weekend, six republican candidates travel to iowa for the face and freedom forum. watch our live coverage of hurricane, newt gingrich and rick santorum as well as rick perry and michele bachmann and ron paul. >> tamara, a look at the impact of the death of mummer -- tomorrow, a look at the impact of the death of muammar gaddafi on libya. after that, social security director alex lawson. then, the latest in the 2012 political campaign. that is live at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. >> sunday on "news makers,"
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senator tom harkin will talk about recent work on the no child left behind act and the status of jobs legislation. that is at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> that is, to me, very obvious that with all of the priorities we have, and they're all very worthy, that every close call should be made in favor of economic growth. every time i should be broken in should be broken in favor of private economic prosperity. >> sunday night, mitch daniels on his new book, "of the economy," and his decision to not run for president in 2012.
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>> now, a discussion on how cultural and political biases in congress can impact of foreign policy. leading the conversation is former senator john sununu, who called for members to pay more attention to international issues. this is hosted by the woodrow wilson center and is about two hours. >> iris thinking back over the nine terms i served in -- i was thinking back over the nine terms i served in congress, the different wars we got into an the ways they were authorized,
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from bosnia in 1995 to iraq, to afghanistan -- in reverse order -- and in more recent days, libya, when i was no longer there. each time, the role of congress seem to be somewhat different in the formal or informal justifications seem to be somewhat different. it is really important to probe this subject because so far as i know the constitution has not changed all these years and it is still congress's job to declare war. i have just come to listen up. there are very small people on this panel. -- smart people on this panel, and also to say to everyone the john sununu and i served on the house commerce committee together years ago. those were the days when there was some bipartisanship. i know most of you cannot remember that that was ever true, but it was true.
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he and i worked together then and we have worked together since, and the woodrow wilson center, which i am now enormously honored to leave, is absolutely committed, at least here, in this one rinwing of the reagan building, to fostering thoughtful conversation, respectful interaction and bipartisan solutions to tough problems. one of them, obviously, is what role congress should play as we confront very different challenges in foreign policy, some of them involving kinetics in the 21st century. i just went to thank you for doing this panel. give sununu and natural hub, and welcome our audience. -- an actual hug, and welcome our audience. [applause]
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>> thank you. today's program is the first in the series over the coming academic year on the overall role of congress and its challenges. we thank chevron for making this possible. our title, "congress is influence on foreign policy: for better or for worse? " some have said we should have added another marriage vow, for richer for poor, but we know which direction is things are going budget terribly. something -- budgetarily. some think the president is solely responsible for foreign policy. that is what woodrow wilson
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thought. as we recall from his unyielding fight with the senate over the treaty of oversight, he still largely had that attitude when versailles, hef their sale still largely had that attitude when he was president. i think we will have a little more to say on that. the senate, of course, shares power with the president on ambassadorships and treaties. the power of the purse not only for domestic and foreign affairs is shared as well. i was just thumbing through the
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house foreign affairs authorization for foreign relations, and it covers a lot of territory, believe me. i think they had 75 amendments during their markup in july. notwithstanding these separate and shared powers, the intent of the framers was that congress should act as a check on executive power. when congress does get involved in making foreign policy, it is often accused of micromanaging, of excessive meddling insensitive affairs. i recall very vividly former secretary of state henry kissinger, he said this after he left office of course, he said that congress's role in foreign policy is a little like 535 and its floating down a river on a log, each thinking they are steering the thing. i learned later that is a
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paraphrase of something mark twain said about bureaucracy. nevertheless, congress is organized to play a role in foreign defense budget for an affairs policy -- play a role in foreign deaffairs policy. mostly, through committees. all of these committees and subcommittees consume a substantial amount of time and resources for committee members and their staff. their product conceives consider -- receives considerable debate and amendment activity on the floor of the house and the senate. clearly, congress is involved on an ongoing basis. what we're asking today is whether that involvement is for better or for worse. does it enhance or detract from the success of foreign policy?
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we're here today to answer that question. you have biographies of our panelists on your handouts, so i will not go into detail on each of them. we're first going to hear from former senator john sununu of new hampshire, who served six years in the house of representatives and in six years in the u.s. senate. in the house he was especially active on budget matters. in the senate, on foreign relations and armed services committee. we will hear from a public policy scholar here at the wilson center and a staff member of john kerry of massachusetts. he is the author of a biography of former fdr confidante tommy corcoran. we're very grateful to you, david, for your willingness to fill in at the last minute after
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the last-minute withdrawal of congressman dick gephardt who had a conflict that came up. i gave him the option of saying a few words and he was kind enough to say, i worked on the hill, i can be s with the best of them -- bs with the best of them, i will say a few remarks. then we will hear from james linsey, a political scientist and author, co-author of several books in the field including a popular college text on congress and foreign policy. we're very grateful to you for being with us today. finally, we will hear from someone who i have opposed -- i have imposed upon several times to be here, the congressional correspondent with the christian science monitor. prior to that, she was a hill correspondent and the paris bureau chief.
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she has looked at this issue from both sides of the big body of water and we will be grateful for her inside. prior to being a journalist, she taught political science at a number of colleges. my former colleague is to say that i wish journalists had been required to take at least one political science course during their college days because they do not know what is going on here. after a few years, they do catch on. i will yield the podium to former senator sununu for as much time as he may consume. >> let me be the first to recognize the yielding to a senator for as much time as they one is the most dangerous thing you can do in a format where you are trying to get to other speakers. i will try to keep my remarks brief and focus on some of the peculiarities about congress in general and the house and the
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senate in particular, having my contrast with one another, how members might arrive at their own decisions with regard to foreign policy, what kind of perspective and background to they bring -- do they bring to their view of foreign policy and how it might affect some outcomes. some of the comments that were made in the introduction, first, thank you very much to jane for her kind words. it is wonderful to work with her. she is a good friend and an extremely thoughtful person. we worked in a bipartisan way on a whole host of issues, but never more determinedly than on issues of national security. she mentioned bipartisanship, and i would start with an observation that there is plenty of bipartisan consensus with regard to foreign policy. presidents both democrat and republican absolutely agree that congress has no business
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meddling in foreign policy. members of congress, both democrat and republican, joined together in a green that the oval office has no idea where -- agreeing that the oval office has no idea where they're going on foreign policy. there is opportunity for the parties to work together in that regard. with respect to the age of the debate, certainly the debate goes back further to the 1970's, although no question that academic circles have been more thoughtful and more focused on the give-and-take between congress and the presidency since then. don mentioned wilson's perspective on the role of congress versus the presidency at the turn of the century, but the fact is that some of the earliest and most heated debates in congress were over matters of foreign policy, approval of treaties with english, not just arguing the substance, the detail, the meaning and the
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impact of what was written in those treaties, but arguing at that time about the broader role of congress in foreign policy. it is an issue that has been in front of the country since its founding in there is no question that congress has a role by design. that is how the framers wanted it. they could have simply written into the constitution that on matters of foreign policy congress will stay out, but they did not. there is no power more important than the power to declare war. in terms of relevance, we can adjust to the past few weeks -- we can look just to the past few weeks, approval after long delay a relatively important trade agreements. some who were responsible for
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the delay might argue that it was done in order to ensure that both the treaties were well crafted and that additional issues like trade adjustment authority were considered along with the treaties. there is no question that if you are korea, the delay in the details in a trade agreement have shaped your foreign policy choices and decisions with regards to the united states. it may be simply a trade agreement, but there is no question it affects foreign- policy. the senate's approval of legislation dealing with chinese currency manipulation is another important agreement, whether you agree or disagree with the legislation. there is no question that it is not just relevant, the very important to the shade and the tone of our relations, both economic, social and political with china.
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there is no question the congress remains extremely relevant in this debate. i see, as a former member, the central tension between the presidency and congress being, in the abstract, i think most americans would agree we would like a consensus-driven, unified foreign policy, because that is easier to implement. it is easier to represent our national interests if that is the case. but in fact, we have a congress that is partisan at times and populist at times, and i can certainly be driven, because there are human beings in the congress, by different aspects of ethnic or demographic identity. none of those things in and of themselves are bad. parties are not a bad thing.
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they help make our system of democracy work. the represent different views and ideas about economics, government and foreign policy at times. you do not solve the problem by getting rid of parties. you cannot solve the problem by telling people that you really should not identify yourself as an irish-american, a scottish- american, polish-american. that is what america is all about. but you cannot escape the fact that these american concepts in turn have affected the way a member of congress, house or senate has use their role and their responsibility. what are the things that drive members in their approach to foreign policy? first is their personal background. where did they grow up? what part of the country are they from? where were they educated? viewdid their own families'
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of their own immigrant roots shape their -- them and their value system as they grew up, got educated and began pursuit of public life? that really does make a difference. if you are a first-generation college-american family, then you're probably -- polish- american family, then you are probably going to be a little more focused on the issues associated with central europe, issues associated with our allies and adversaries in that part of the world. it is natural. this is natural, not inevitable, but this is natural. the east coast and the west coast are more focused on international issues. and this is as much a reflection of geography as anything. there are few people in america
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as a percentage, americans are not nearly as focused on international issues as their counterparts in europe. this is a reflection of geography or the size of countries, the number of countries someone may have visited as they grew up and in public life. the background shapes the prospective without question. and there is the constituency. if you are a member of congress and you represent a district, you care about the makeup of the people in your district and where they are from. and what parts of the world are the most focused on. even if there is not unanimity on any issue, if you are a member of congress representing dearborn, mich., you will have
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spent time in the largest arab- american community in the united states. without question, that will help inform your view and it may have an effect on your priorities. and you can go by each district to find that constituencies may affect the intensity with which a member of congress looks at foreign policy in part of the world. the committees that you are on affect your impact. if you are in the foreign relations committee, the call of international affairs in the house, you will be more focused on foreign policy. and if you are the chairman of the africa subcommittee in the united states senate, you'll be focus on issues affecting the

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