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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  October 10, 2014 4:00am-6:01am EDT

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whether those two numbers are the same or different. they also might get these tasks correct but takes them roughly 200 milliseconds longer, 200 synapses. processing speed is low. after two years one might suspect that's a permanent change. next slide. yeah. so in terms of critical scientific gaps, some of these we do, dr. graham talked about. how does concussion affect the brain in the short and long-term. we really don't have much information about that. what's the dose requirement. dr. graham talked about that. to produce concussion, postconcussion syndrome. cte. how can we reliably objectively know when the brain is injured and more importantly, fully recovered. we have no ways to do it. lots of individual differences from one person to the next. we think there are genetic factors involved but also a
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concussion history the person may not think they have. how many of us have bumped our head getting in and out of the car. we have a quick rotational movement and that could produce, perhaps, a concussion. how does the brain recover from tbi and finally how we improve and recover, accelerate recovery. we really have no scientific basis for any interventions. thank you. >> thank you. dr. johnston, you're recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for inviting me to testify alongside this illustrious panel about our experience. >> pull the microphone better? >> is that better? following the passage of concussion legislation as well as work we're currently doing at the university of alabama birmingham to improve safety. as in nebraska youth sports and football are an important part
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of our culture. as a result we take the safety of our children seriously as well. it's gained prominence over the past decade thanks to research and advocacy work by scientists, physicians, public health centers across the united states, work of public officials highlighting research. significant concern recent studies identified potential long-term health consequences depression, encephalopathy and other neurologic diseases associated with impacts. professional football gets media attention, it's important to keep in mind over 70% of all football players in the u.s. are under 14 years of age. any effort directed at safety in football will need to address these youth athletes. parallel to enacting alabama's concussion law as in alabama as in many states alabama task force, think first alabama initiated statewide concussion awareness program and it worked.
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in the first year we found 500% increase in referral of youth athletes referred to the clinic at children's of alabama, a trend that held steady since that time with 350 youth athletes seen every year. to optimize care of this rapidly increasing patient population, we developed a protocol. following guidelines, athletes were evaluated by physicians expertise in concussion, kept out of school until symptom-free, referred for testing if necessary, supervised return to play or program. a formal study in 2012 demonstrated establishing this program resulted in significantly better concussion care and resources utilization. even though these efforts, treatment of concussion in alabama and other states much needs to be done to prevent sports related injury in the first place. the difficulty of a concussion threshold as has been said
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previously, using subjective ways of evaluating athletes, research widened focus from concussion to correlative cumulative impact exposure over time advanced mri images and in your lodge. animal models have problems with cognitive impairment, spatial learning. as seen also in football players compared to single impact controls in those that have not had injuries. though definitive threshold impact frequency hit counts cannot be drawn from these early studies it has being clear subconcussive impacts, those that don't result in concussion play a role in cumulative over time need to be studied. wake forest suggest a significant portion of young players head impact actually takes place during practices. the largest impacts happen to take place during those practices a lot of times doing outdated drills, oklahoma drill or bull in the ring supervised
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by well meaning but untrained coaches. emulating top level collegiate programs who don't do these practices and drills, teams like university of alabama, ivy league and others alabama high school athletic published nonbinding guidelines to limit full contact hitting practices to twice per week. i believe this type of intervention is complimentary to stuff usa football talking about techniques, not just techniques but the number of hitting practices per week as well as what drills are going to be done during practice. pop warner instituted similar guidelines but a small section. frequency of hitting at practice as well as type of drills would have large effect on safety decreasing cumulative impact exposure for every youth football player in america. also become clear football helmet standards defined by national committee for athletic equipment must be updated to reflect our understanding of ideologies, impact and acceleration play a role in concussive physiology only
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linear impact studied, from a skull fracture tolerance model developed in the 1960s. we believe having multiple other -- complete impact necessary in the field to come up with meaningful standards, in connection with the football program, engineers at uab, previously university of nebraska develop a safer barrier have develop a robust analysis system to analyze impacts and recreate them in a purpose built lab. in conclusion the passage of concussion awareness legislation, community education, recent advances head impact exposure in youth athletes improved overall safety of impact sports and recognizing concussions more frequently. however much work specifically in education and drafting policies to limit head impact exposure for youth athletes in contact sports. as part of this multifaceted approach to complex problem new
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helmet standards is crucial for development of helmets. mr. chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify. >> thank you. dr. gay, you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman terry. i'd like to thank the subcommittee for inviting me to testify today. i'm speaking to you as a football fan who happens to be a physicist. my main professional interest is how equipment works and how it can be improved. today i wish to consider several aspects of football problematic as far as concussions go and how we might move forward to make the game safer. american football is an inherently violent sport. that's one of the reasons we love it. forces in football can be huge. consider a big hit between a running back and linebacker at full speed. we can show using newton's law the force they exert on each
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other exceeds three-quarters of a ton. that's why football is called a contact sport. two players who collide at full speed helmet to helmet are experiencing same force one would feel if he had a 16 pound bowling ball dropped on his helmet from a height of 8 feet. medical knowledge of concussions is in its infancy. we know one thing for sure. forces to the head and neck cause concussions. we've just heard how big these forces can be. here is another problem. they are getting bigger. since 1920, the average way to pro alignment has increased 60% to just over 300 pounds. at the same time these players have gotten about 10% faster. providing speed and mass to calculate kinetic injury, available to cause injury, we find the amount of injury dumped into the pit at the line of scrimmage on any given play has almost doubled since 1920. an exact opposition to this
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trend is the fact that players are shedding their protective gear. fine knee pads that used to be centimeters thick now bear a remarkable resemblance to tea cup doilies. horse collars, popular alignment of my generation have gone the way of the flying wedge. modern football helmets are technical marvels but players choose them not for their collision cushioning ability but how cool they look. another problem is state of medical knowledge. while i'm not competent to explain, i think it's safe to say a room full of head trauma physicians won't agree on what the details of what concussions are or what causes them. this means treatment has a long way to go. as understanding improves, we may find injury rates due to the increasing energy of the game and wholesale shedding of equipment has increased faster than we thought. finally, football is big business especially at the college and professional levels.
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when monetary forces manifest themselves as they do, for example, bounty programs and illegal doping to improve performance, the game becomes more dangerous. what are the solutions? we need better equipment. this request gelt tricky. more energy to the helmet will lower the force delivered to a player's skull. this has been tried in the past. the problem is the added padding increases the helmet diameter as well as co-efficient of friction opposing player can have more torque on the head. nonetheless several companies are prpoposing the basic same padding for youth football youth players collisions to the head certainly greater. use of the star system for rating helmets and hit system for monitoring collisions to a players' head represent important first steps toward improving football safety.
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for a variety of reasons that disregard players safety they are largely ignored. our understanding of the physiological epidemiological conclusions related must be improved. there is now an understanding in the nfl and at the college level that significant research in the area is needed. several of the members of this panel including my colleague from nebraska dr. molfese leading in this area. finally incremental rule changes and enforcement of existing rules are needed. rules regarding targeting, peel back blocking and defenseless opponent are making players more hesitant on the field. these rules may actually increase the risk of injury. rule changes should be studied and possibly reversed. it is my belief that a return to a level of padding worn in 1970s make the game significantly safer. more thorough doping rules should be developed and actually enforced.
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nfl season should be reduced to 14 games and college season returned to 11. finally more stringent requirements regarding when a player with a concussion can return to the game need to be implemented. these are my thoughts for your consideration. thank you for your attention and your valuable time. >> thank you for your valuable time. and dr. goia, i appreciate you being here. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman terry, ranking member and members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to speak on behalf of the safety of our children in this country. i'm a pediatric neuropsychologist at children's national health in washington, d.c. and director of the score concussion program. i'm a clinician, researcher and public health educator. today i'd like to take my time to focus my comments on the importance of public health education for youth concussion using my expertise as a
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clinician and researcher. i've worked for the last decade with cdc on their heads up concussion program materials. we all know, i think ian said it just perfectly, that sports and recreation provide important developmental opportunities to enrich the lives of our youth. they teach life lessons. we have to balance those incredible benefits of sports participation with careful attention to safety issues and science must drive our action oriented approach. concussions are serious injuries to the brain that threaten the development of our youth. in an attempt to protect our youth, we now have laws in all 50 states and the district of columbia, all with the good intent of protecting student athletes through rules for educating coaches and parents and removing suspected concussions and now allowing them to return until properly clear. all states, include the high school at this level but only 15 out of those 51 include youth
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sports. less than one-third are looking at the majority of athletes. in preparing for this testimony, i was posed with an important question and challenge within youth sports. with concussion awareness at an all-time high, our youth sports teams and organizations and parents more aware but still not sure what to do about it. the simple answer to that question, with my experience, is yes. many coaches and parents are not equipped to know what to do with a suspected concussion. mechanisms to teach active recognition and response to every coach and parent are inconsistent and limited in scope. the health and safety of youth athletes is in the hands of coaches and parent at the youth level. they need medically guided training in early identification of concussion and protection. coaches and parents must receive training in action oriented concussion response. awareness isn't enough. they have to be prepared properly.
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we know that as you've heard, repeated concussions present the greatest challenge to our youth. our greatest challenge is the universal, consistent and effective implementation of these 51 laws so that we can prepare those coaches and parents to know what to do and have the tools with which to do it. at children's national health system over the past ten years our score program delivered hundreds upon hundreds of action oriented parent and coach concussion educated train program using materials from cdc. we've learned much about community needs. and how to deliver the message. we have training where we present to coaches and parents an actual situation and what they must do and recognize and respond. this is all very, very important as we put these responsible adults in place. you've heard about some important other kinds of
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activities and good examples of head safe action, head smart action, such as usa football's heads up tackling program where coaches are educated in concussion recognition response but also taught techniques that we believe can improve taking the head out of the game. but we have to go further in all youth sports. we do not have a coordinated universal strategy at this point for action oriented solution driven methods to recognize and respond to these injuries. we have the tools, we have many of the programs, but we do not at this point have the delivery mechanism to do that. so we have to build also on active partnerships between youth sports organizations and medical care systems. concussions are complicated. they are not simple. we're not asking parents and coaches to be clinicians and go out and diagnose. willing teammates you've heard through usa football, lacrosse, rugby and other organizations but we need to build those partnerships.
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we need the help of the professional sports leagues as you're hearing from nhl and nfl and sports manufacturing world to team with us. we also need a quarterback ultimately to make this happen. we have to leverage the efforts of other organizations like the national council on youth sport safety, youth sport safety alliance, sarah jane plan, all of this is important for us to do. we need obviously funding to do that to move forward. can we move from awareness to action? yes, we can. concussions are serious injuries that threaten our youth, but we do not need to be scared away from that. we do not need to avoid developmentally appropriate participation in sports activities. what we need to do is focus on how to teach recognition and response and our country needs a good, universal mechanism to implement community focus youth concussion solutions. we believe that can help children ultimately as they
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enjoy benefits of sports. our score model applies here. it says play hard, play safe, but play smart. thank you. >> very good. doctor, you are now recognized for your five minutes. >> thank you. i want to thank chairman terry, ranking member schakowsky, members of the subcommittee i'm honored to be here today. my focus on radiological evidence of both concussion and subconcussive blows to the head. if i can have the next slide. what is known is that mild traumatic brain injury is common in sports injury. when we're talking about a single mild tbi, about 80% get better, between 15% and 30% go on to have persistent concussive symptoms as have been described today.
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what's most concerning though are what's been called chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other nerve degenerative disorders. that's the second one where it's repetitive mild traumatic brain injury that we're really concerned w the clearest evidence comes from postmortem studies. if i can have the next slide hereby is a post-morten slide. this is a study that shows protein in the brain. those are the brown areas that show up. this is a case of a retired professional football player who had symptoms and presumed to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy which was confirmed postmortem. next slide, please. here are four individuals, a, b, c, d. what's interesting, this is work by gold steam, blast injury and repetitive brain trauma look the same at postmortem. we have a military person at 45 with one close range blast injury, 34-year-old with two blast injuries, an amateur
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football player at the age of 18 with repetitive concussions and 21-year-old with subconcussive blows to the head only. next slide, please. what is known? we've gone over the first two. third is mild tbi is difficult to diagnose. that's been a serious problem. if you use conventional ct and conventional mri, you're not likely to find differences or abnormalities in the brain. many people have said there's no problem then. the problem is correct tools have not been used until more recently. now with advanced neuroimaging we're able to diagnose and move towards prognosis and hopefully intervention. advanced neuroimaging diffusion imaging we've been using in our laboratory show radiological evidence of brain alterations in living individuals with mild tbi. so if we can detect this early and perhaps then look at underlying mechanisms and
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characterize what's going on in order to come up with preventive measures. next slide please. this is a study looking at university players. first preseason and postseason. red dots are three individuals who had concussions from preseason to postseason. the increase is increase in extra cellular water in the brain, which is not a good sign. next slide, please. we also looked at gray matter, looking at cortical thinning, in the brain, that's where core texas and neurons are in the brain. this is a study of former professional football players who were symptomatic when we looked at them. what we found is there's cortical thinning compared to age matched normal controls. what's most concerning, however, is that blue line that shows cortical thinning accelerates with age whereas the red line
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control group where it's almost completely flat and this suggests cortical thinning may indicate abnormal aging and risk for dementia that we can see right now in living individuals. next slide, please. now, this is a study that we did in germany with elite soccer players. we selected them specifically for not having a history of concussion and not having any symptoms whatsoever. what we found was compared to swimmers, professional swimmers, there was a huge difference between the two groups with the controls on the left and the soccer players on the right. almost a complete separation between the two groups with an increase in what's called radial diffusivity, damage to the brain. next slide, please. what we don't know. why do concussive and subconcussive trauma result in some and not others. another question we don't know, why do some develop
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neurodegenerative disease and others do not. what are the predisposing factors. is exposure genetics involved. not every football player, not every soccer player, not every hockey player who plays and gets hit to the head ends up with nerve degenerative diseases which i think people are most concerned with. next slide. so what we need is diagnosis to detect early. imaging tools sensitive, widely available and can be applied in vivo. prognosis to follow recovery and degenerative processes. we need to follow recovery and degenerative processes to predict who will have a poor out come and who will have a good outcome. knowing that we might be able to intercede with treatment,
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to halt possible cascade of neurodegenerative changes. finally, summary next slide sports concussion leads to alteration of the brain's white and gray matter. detect alterations following concussions and subconcussive brain trauma and the impact over time is important. we need longitudinal studies to identify different stages of recovery and being able to pick out ahead of time what is going to lead to a poor outcome so we can intercede. finally some measures of safety such as returning to play, observable evidence of brain trauma. thank you. >> thank you. very impressive testimony from everyone. i was even impressed that you all stuck to the five minutes pretty close. now. i'm going back to dr. molfese. i think your testimony and dr. shenton's kind of juxtapose nicely. part of your research is finding
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that baseline of the new athletes that enter university of nebraska. is this allowing you to detect the injuries earlier that there may have been some pre-existing subconcussion? how are you identifying that, what is it telling you, and what is the university doing to implement some level of protections? >> one of the major changes we've seen, and i think this is occurring across the field now, is the effort to get preconcussion data. so basically more schools are moving to assess student athletes prior to the start of the season. then that certainly is what we're doing. should a player be injured and they are identified through trainers or the medical team, one of the weaknesses here is
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that the players do not always self-identify. so we've run across that a number of times in our testing. we'll pick up something on our test the trainers and medical team didn't know about simply because the player didn't disclose. then we also tried to test somebody else who plays a similar position but has not been injured and they act sort of as control over the season. what we're finding both effects that occur across the season in both our normal players with no history of concussion being identified their brain's speed of processing does change over the four to five months of training and the season. players who do experience a concussion, we see in terms of brain electrical activity, again, this slowdown of about 200 milliseconds. four times faster than the slowdown in multiple sclerosis, for example, for a contrast.
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clearly the brain has changed the way it's processing. we're just starting to move with intervention programs with players we've identified. there's some data early alzheimer's working memory type tasks. even a week of intervention shows a four to five week gain, continual gain in improvements. so we're trying to see if we can see some of that occurring. >> thank you. dr. gay, in regard to concussions, many times it's not a direct below but coup contracoup, head going back and forth and brain sloshing around. you mentioned going back to 1970s type of equipment. tom osborne likes to talk about the neck roll. describe to me by what you mean by 1970s equipment and how it might reduce concussions.
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>> the neck roll, what i call a horse collar, is really a piece of equipment that's disappeared from the game. it does an important thing. it essentially immobilizes the head. so if concussions are incurred by rattling of the brain back and forth especially from a blow to the side, the horse collar will substantially damp that down. to my knowledge, there are no epidemiological studies of that being effective, but i can't -- my personal opinion, even though i'm ignorant -- largely ignorant of medical science, if you immobilize the head that's going to solve a lot of problems, especially with these rotational hits. yeah. >> dr. graham, does that make sense?
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>> i think whether or not the horse collar would have that effect, i don't know. of course, our committee was based purely on science and reviewing the literature. but i think the principle is you want to find ways to minimize the linear and rotational forces that come into effect with a blow to the head. whether you can do that by equipment, whether you can do that by change in play, that's the incidence of concussion. >> thank you. i only have 11 seconds left so i'll yield back and recognize the ranking member miss schakowsky. >> you know, in addition to the science, so much talk has been about culture, and it seems to me that that is very important.
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so, a change in the culture means not only managing head injuries when they occur but also encouraging safer play to reduce the risk for head injuries. mr. heaton, you spoke about the need to change the -- i'm quoting from your testimony -- win at all cost attitude among players and coaches. what would you tell teens to help them change that attitude both within themselves and teammates and perhaps more challenging in coaches? >> thank you. well, frankly, i would actually encourage the coaches to stress this as much as possible as well as the parents. the coaches and the parents are there to help us learn how to play these sports correctly. if they can emphasize not having to worry about winning to the point where you get hurt, it will trickle down to the players. the players become coaches. it's this never ending cycle of teaching and making sure that the players know that winning is
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not the most important thing. you know, it feels great to win. i'd much rather lose than have another concussion. >> clearly you were aware because of the severe consequences of the brain injury. do you think youth athletes understand what those symptoms are? >> yes. i think it's getting better, indeed, especially at my school. we emphasize making sure that you know the symptoms of concussions. i feel like it's spreading as well. >> let me ask dr. gioia that. >> certainly at this point, the education programs are directed towards the athletes. quite honestly, about five years ago, maybe six years ago, there was a study that showed that was the number one reason why athletes weren't coming out of the game. they didn't know how to tie
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together the symptomatology. it wasn't they didn't want to lose game time but didn't know themselves. athletes and teammates need to watch out for each other. the concussed athlete may not have the wherewithal to know they aren't right yet their teammate next to them does. there is a responsibility within that team to take care of each other. that's an important focus. >> that goes to culture as well. >> absolutely. >> dr. shenton, please explain a little bit how advanced neuroimaging works and describe the type of changes in the brain your lab is able to detect that traditional imaging can't and also some of the types of neuroimaging used by your lab have been a significant part of the research on diseases like alzheimer's and schizophrenia. why are the same imaging techniques appropriate for research on these diseases and
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research on sports related -- >> i have a slide at the end of my slides that just explains in one slide diffusion imaging which i think would help out here. >> the one slide i really didn't understand, was it comparing swimmers with -- >> with soccer players but i was going to go through and show you why diffuse injury is important. the injury that happens in the impact to the brain is generally a stretching of the cables in the brain, really the white matter. for example, the largest white matter track in the brain. you get shearing. this doesn't show up on traditional ct or mri. in fact, the first mild tbi conference i went to, no one showed a brain. i looked to my colleague and said why would no one show a brain? because everyone knows you can't see anything on the brain. i said, but nobody is using the right tools here.
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this is just a very simple principles of diffusion imaging. if you look on the left, this is ink that goes on a kleenex. it goes in all directions. that's isotropic. if you look on the right, aniisotropic. this is the same principle used quantitatively to look at the brain. if you're in it's very round. it's isotropic, everything goes in the same direction. if you're looking at white matter you're restricted in two directions. you can measure what the integrity is of white matter fiber bundles in the brain. that's what you need to look at in mild tbi. if you have someone come in with a moderate or severe brain injury, you don't need this kind of technology. they are just going to be put into neurosurgery and do an operation. it's these very subtle brain
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injuries that aren't recognized using conventional imaging where you can recognize it if you use something like diffusion imaging. we've shown over and over again now that you can see, and it's not just our group, starting in 2003 people started using diffusion imaging because it's the most sensitive imaging tool that exists today to look at diffusion injury which is the major injury in tbi. what needs to be done now is to look at acute injury and see what predicts outcome. do acute injury at 72 hours, at three months, at six months, can we then predict knowing that what happens at 72 hours if you have -- we have one in our lab trying to separate water that's outside the brain versus outside cells versus in cells. if you can predict from 72
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hours, then you can go back and say maybe we want to put in anti-inflammatory medications. if this is a neuroinflammatory response. we don't know enough right now. the only way to know is to do these longitudinal studies and follow over time using sophisticated imaging technology in my opinion. once you know, you can diagnose. once you diagnose -- >> this could be very promising not only for our athletes, but our returning veterans and applied eventually to schizophrenia or alzheimer's. >> i'm primarily schizophrenia research. that's what i've done for 30 years before i became a tbi researcher in 2008. we have imaging that shows early on at the first episode of schizophrenia you see fluid around the brain that's free water. it's like the isotropic.
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in just the frontal lobe, you see it restricted to inside tissue. this was a brand new technique developed by a scholar in our lab. >> i'm going to have to say thank you. it's very promising. thank you. >> yes, thank you. gentlemen from new jersey is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. dr. johnston, you stated that many sports related concussions still go undiagnosed and i would like to know why in your opinion that is the case and how can we improve that? the state laws and also the involvement of coaches and players and pta's, areas where we need to have improvement? >> thank you for the question. i think i would echo what has been said by others on the panel. sorry. i would echo what's been said by others on the panel that i think a lot has to do with
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recognition. people are very good at recognizing when someone gets knocked out. but of course that's a small percentage of all concussions. as our understanding of all the various symptoms that can go with concussion have arisen. it becomes incumbent upon us to improve the quality of the education we give to our coaches, players, trainers. officials, about the symptoms of concussion. my sense is in general the culture -- at least speaking for the state of alabama -- all the coaches are believers. they're not purposely hiding kids and putting them back in knowing they have concussions. sometimes it's hard to recognize especially when young athletes don't tell you how they're feeling and other issues were brought up with the importance of teammates being involved with diagnosing these players so they can be pulled and appropriately evaluated.
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>> how close are we to a better design for helmets? >> i think that we are at the very beginning. i think we have been using a standard not changed for 40 years designed for skull fractures that has served its purpose. i think many investigators around are working to improve the quality of the standards to include linear and rotation acceleration as well as other important aspects of impacts. just like the automotive industry did 30 years ago with safety ratings. the market can be relied upon for manufacturers to improve their helmet designs to improve their sales. i think standards are an important part of the equation. >> thank you. dr. gay, in your testimony you discussed the fact that there is a numerical system.
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it is design at virginia tech, the star system. you called it the best tool we have for analyzing the merits of various helmet systems. can you explain how the numerical scoring system works? >> yes. thank you. basically it involves a test where you drop the helmet from a given height, a varying height to the side, to the front, to the back. it tries to simulate the kinds of impacts that a football player would actually experience and numerical scores are given to the maximum acceleration that the head inside the helmet feels for these given drops based on a, in my opinion, fairly crude initial model of what causes concussions. there's no effect taken into account of rotation, of temperature and in my opinion,
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the reproducibility is not as good as one would like having tried to do it, examples of these kinds of tests in groups that i have been involved with. so i think it's a good first start. it's the best we have right now, i think it needs to be paid attention to but there's a lot of room, a lot of room for improvement. >> thank you. and finally, ian, how old are you and what grade are you in? >> i'm 18 and i'm a senior. >> does that mean you'll be going off to college in the autumn? >> yes. >> do you know where you will be attending college. >> i'm going to elan university in north carolina. >> congratulations. and my condolences to you and your parents on the cost of higher education in this country. it's a great school. i have a god daughter who is a freshman there. that means she's a little older than you. i'll be happy to introduce you to her. and let me say i am very proud of your testimony and i could not have done what you have just
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done when i was 17 or 18 and certainly i think the nation has benefitted by your outstanding testimony. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> gentleman from mississippi you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank each of you for being here and sharing your expertise on what is a topic we're really just, i think, only really learning about as it's been in the news for several years but it is coming to the forefront in your work and your information and your testimony on the record here today. i think will be beneficial to us. as a parent of a 24-year-old young man with fragil x syndrome i particularly love the things you do. i had some discussion with
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parents back home and the interesting discussion is i had several friends who have daughters playing youth soccer and a number have reported an increase in the number of concussions suffered by young ladies playing youth soccer. we seem to always associate it with nfl and helmet to helmet contact and concussions and things we see on the field but it appears in everything we do in life. every sporting event. there's that danger and that risk. that's why i think what you're doing with the alabama doctor johnson is the preventative part of it. how do we educate our players and coaches, parents. and perhaps, if using a teammate approach, it may be the safest
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thing may be to have the backup position player be the one to report for the first teamer when they need to come out. that might get them off the field. but thank each of you for your work. dr. johnston, what is a subconcussive impact? what does that mean and how important is that when addressing concussion diagnoses? and should subconcussive impacts affect rules of game of play and if so, how? >> i think the definition would be all those other -- the 99.9% of impacts that happen that don't result in a concussion. as has been pointed out, that the rub with concussion is the diagnosis part. if you look at the historical studies, rates of concussion in different sports, it's variable. and a lot has to do with who is diagnosing it. males versus females. whether or not men are more or
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less likely to report symptoms. i think it's all those other impacts that have found more and more information with the important imaging done in boston and other places that even the subconcussive impacts have results in terms of structural changes in the brain overtime. i think the subconcussive impact needs to be addressed in terms of lessening the overall load that the player has. football is the obvious thing in terms of player practices and how many practices a week children should be able to do. but i think that has applications for all sports. >> thank you. dr. mulfese, if i could ask. the 77% of military. >> yes. >> that figure, is that how many of tbi cases have suffered concussions or is that 77% of all military? i wasn't quite sure.
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>> of chronic brain injuries, 77% are concussions, mild tbi's. >> i got you. can you tell us more about the sideline imaging work that you're doing? is this practical? is this something we can expect to see rolled out to sidelines across america to diagnose for athletes and on to battle fields to diagnose our warriors? >> i think it's possible. we published a paper just this last year where we took one of our systems and recorded on the sideline of a field. the biggest challenge for us in making a practical is to get the processing time down. at this point takes us an hour. if we can get it down to five minutes, then i think we can sell it to the coaches. they're the ones that are going to determine. and i guess at this point given all the other issues -- the common tests are the impact.
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which are tools, sort of questions to the player and they have to reflect and they may be foggy because of the concussion. but these tests don't have any predictability or reliability after two days post injury. that's our big problem. doesn't predict recovery time, severity of the injury and so on. so these biomarkers that we are talking about are the critical things that we're hoping are things that we're hoping are going to be much more reliable. >> thank you. >> thank you. generally this would end. but we all have so many questions. we're actually going to do a second round and plus the bells aren't going to go off for at least another seven minutes. and jan does have a conflict and she has given us approval that she's going to leave but she trusts us to ask legitimate questions. >> but let me just really thank this panel, the previous panel
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as well, but the intensity of the scientific research and then the application to the playing field and actually so many other fields, i really want to thank you for telling us what's going on. and i also did want to thank ian for coming here today. i think it's important to have people like brianna and ian to tell their stories and give us a face to the importance of this. i want to thank the ftc, too, for making sure that false claims aren't made. but this is so important, so appreciated. and then we'll have to figure out where it leads us. but it certainly has informed us. thank you. >> i would agree with every word of that. so this is a question to you, dr. mulfese and dr. shenton and
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it dovetails into what the gentleman from mississippi was talking about. are the symptoms of a concussion or tbi uniform enough so that it's possible for early detection or developing a checklist for a coach or a parent to be used, you know, but nonmedical? we'll start with you. >> no. >> well, that was easy. >> the symptoms overlap with depression and ptsd and that's been a problem. in fact there was a paper published in the new england journal of medicine that said when you remove the effects of depression and the effects of ptsd, mild tbi doesn't exist. that's a real disservice. it used to be people would claim that when people came in complaining that they still had symptoms from hitting their heads, since there was no evidence from conventional mri or ct, they said go see a
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psychiatrist. so it was really not appropriate at all because there's at least a small minority of people who have mild concussion who go on to have symptoms, and they can go on for months, for years and then they can clear up. that's separate even from cte. what you need is radiological evidence for diagnosis the same way you would want to know values of a blood test for cholesterol or a broken leg. i think we're moving in that direction. that's what we need as the hard evidence because the symptoms are too nonspecific. >> doctor? >> there are a studies looking at the number of symptoms and a wide variety of symptoms people report. there's no data that indicates whether somebody reports lots of symptoms versus a few, that that has any relation to how long they're going to recover, how serious it is, how great the
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impairment is unfortunately. >> can we get to a point where a 7th grade coach, a 7th grader takes as big hit, that there's a checklist per se, that the coach can use to determine if that kid should go back into the game? >> i think there are guidelines out that list concussion symptoms and so i think the general bias at this point is if the individual reports any of the symptoms that they should be pulled. we know there is data to indicate if you do have a concussion and you start playing before the symptoms resolve, the likelihood of even death is much greater. not to mention further significant concussion that's going to take longer to recover. >> all right. so this one is for dr. johnston and dr. gioia. one of the debates occurring in the state of nebraska right now is you have a child or a high school student that suffers a
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concussion during a game. so it's been diagnosed. what do you do next? right now the thought is you keep them home or her home, dark, no electronics. that's kind of the norm. there's a discussion whether that's appropriate or not. or to what length. what do you know? what would you recommend? >> well, i will tell you about how we handle things in alabama and i think a lot is based on the cdc guidelines which is once an athlete is diagnosed they're removed from the field of play and then evaluated. we use the scat, a sideline based assessment and use it afterwards as well. it has a mini inventory of neurological exam and function. and when children have symptoms, they don't return to any activities until the symptoms
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have resolved. those children who have symptoms lasting beyond the two weeks are referred to psychologists. >> you recommend dr. gioia? >> yes. it comes to what's the best treatment for this injury. and let me just say the field is moving on this one. and the recommendations that we make and i have written several recent papers on this is that in that acute stage of symptoms, probably the first few days, maybe for some, little bit longer if there's more severe number of symptoms, is that they really reduce they're activity. but what you want to be doing is increase the activity over time. we don't black box kids until they're asymptomatic. that has likely negative effects on kids being removed. what we do is initially shut
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them down, restrict them and gradually start to bring them back to school and physical activity. but that has to be individualized based on the severity of the symptom presentation. that's where we are right now. we need a whole lot of research to help validate that. >> thank you. mr. lance? gentleman from missouri gets to ask another question. mississippi. i thought you were billy long. >> that hurt. that hurt. thank you, mr. chairman. and a couple of questions that i would have. one would be if we're looking at this -- doctor, if the i may ask a question? >> yes, sir. >> in your testimony you state that football players at the elite levels are shedding equipment to increase speed and mobility. >> yes. >> but the decision of which
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helmet to wear is their own and that player often chooses a helmet's looks, shape, feel, over its collision cushioning ability or safety features. do some physicians require different levels of cushioning? would you recommend a specific helmet? >> that's a great question. currently there are no position specific helmets being made. i think the helmet manufacturers try to do the best they can for everybody. i would say that not to belabor the point but i think for a lineman where you typically get no severe hits but a lot of subconcussive blows, that horse collar is crucial. i wouldn't recommend that a whiteout wear a horse collar. that would affect the quality of the play. it's an interesting point
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because certainly some players might tend -- this is why i'm an advocate for the hits system. it will give us much more detailed information about what positions get hit where. one could envision if we have a large database then improving helmet design to react to the information that we got from that kind of information. >> dr. graham, if i could ask you, how much money has been spent on sports concussion research and where is most of the funding coming for for that research? >> unfortunately that was not an issue that our committee looked at nor would we have the resources to pull it out. clearly you can identify some research being done in the federal sector that applies to this. but the private research that may be done by the sports, the manufacturers of equipment themselves, i don't know any
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good way to quantify that for you. >> i appreciate everybody being here. it's a very important issue. we love our children going through sports. we love to watch it. and we don't want anybody being hurt that shouldn't be hurt. so hopefully this increased focus will lead to better research, better safety equipment, detection and of course, prevention. so thank you so much. i yield back. >> thank you. the gentleman from mississippi. and i just want to thank. this was a truly all-star panel of medical experts and physics. and much appreciated. ian, thank you. and so that does conclude our hearing for today. now, for our witnesses. we, whether we showed up or not, have the right to send you a question. it's called a written question.
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we have about 14 days to write those and submit them to you and i would appreciate a couple of weeks. you don't have to do it right away. but at least if you can get them back to us, if there are any, within about 14 days. i just again want to thank you for coming out and providing some very, very valuable testimony for us. and we are adjourned. jay rockefeller is retiring after 30 years in the u.s. senate. he's a democrat, but republican congresswoman shelly moore capato is believed to have the edge.
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they debated earlier this week. >> would you vote again today to repeal aca which would mean those 160,000 west virginians would lose their insurance? >> i would vote to repeal and replace. i voted for that 50 times. but i also recognized that the aca has some very good things about it. first of all, making sure people don't get cut off their insurance for pre-existing condition. absolutely for that. was for that before the president decided to take it into in a larger and much more detrimental direction. i believe keeping our students on until they're 26. i think that's a good thing. so there are good things. so we need to keep what's good, replace it with what will work. get rid of a businessman date. make sure our businesses are not having a 30% increase in their premiums, which we're seeing. 7,000 west virginians have lost their health care plan, because, remember the president, who i'll remind you, my opponent supported and supports his policies and his health care
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policies said, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it period. it was sold as a bill of goods. we're hearing people who are losing their physicians. it's unaffordable. were things wrong? yes, with the health care system, i wish we'd worked together. in a bipartisan way to find a way to keep folks who are on insurance now, the 140,000 medicaid, we'll want to keep them insured because that's important to us not just to them, but it's important to us as a state. >> secretary, your response? >> there she goes again. she says one thing and votes another way. she says she's for all of these things in the aca, but yet she has voted to repeal it. i won't vote to repeal it. i know what it's like to go without health care. my daughter delaney had open heart surgery.
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many folks across west virginia prayed for her. and those prayers were answered because that surgery saved her life. she's a healthy, happy 12-year-old right now. but when my husband and i started our small business. he said, i talked to the insurance companies trying to get insurance for us and the business and the family. and he said they would cover me and you, but they wouldn't cover delaney because of her pre-existing condition. i was devastated. i thought, what parent takes something that their child can't have? i will never go back to the days when insurance companies can deny someone with a pre-existing condition. for the congresswoman to sit here and say. that she's for that too, she's voted to take that away. >> virginia's democratic senator mark warner is being challenged
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by ed gillespie. they debated in the northern virginia suburbs outside of washington, d.c. here's a few minutes of that. >> when you're not in the white house, my party doesn't have one thing to stand up to right now. but i'll share with you some things that i'm probably at odds. i believe that in the early '90s when congress passed mandatory minimum sentences in the u.s. congress that we swung too far. and that i believe that we need to revisit those. in particular for nonviolent offenders and allow more discretion for judges and, frankly, more discretion for the states to make determinations in terms of what are the proper sentencing guidelines for these things. i think we went overboard in terms of -- in terms of federal sentencing mandatory minimum sentences.
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i'm someone who believes in redemption, and in reconciliation. and i also believe that we need to look at the prospect of banning the box after you have served your time and paid your price. and in terms of time in prison. for certain crimes and for certain jobs, you know, i don't think you should be required to check the box as a felon, which only increases recidivism. and i think if people have paid their debt to society, society needs to welcome them back into society and make it easier for them to come back into society if, again, for certain crimes and for certain positions. >> same thing. >> i appreciate you asking that question. because my whole campaign -- my opponent's whole campaign has been pretty much based on this bogus charge, the 97% charge. i mean, independent political analysts have called it both misleading and not reflective of my record. the national journal, which does a review of all of the votes,
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not just a subsection, ranks me right in the sensible center. and your questionnaire, where have i stood up against my party? let me go through my list, i support drilling off the coast of virginia. as long as we get a share of the royalties, but i support that. i support the keystone pipeline. i've been protested against because of that support. i stood up repeatedly against the president on the foreign policy choices, both around as we've talked about with isil, but also in terms of being stronger against putin in russia. start calling early in march for these kind of stronger opposition to his activities in ukraine and around europe. and it's that reason that virginians know my record. it's that reason why, again, in this campaign i'm so proud to have the support of more republican, former republican legislators than when i ran the first time. if his claim had merit, i don't think that would be the case. what it is, though, is the kind of political sound bite attack
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charge that comes from somebody who spent their career as a partisan operative. >> we have two more live debates tonight on our companion network, c-span. friday night live at 7:30 eastern from the 17th congressional district of it gets under way 8:00 eastern. and in the debate with harkin and ernst, that's live on c-span. then sunday, michigan's governor rick snider will face mark shower. that will be live 6:00 on sunday. with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span, here on c-span 3 we compliment the
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coverage by showing you the most relevant hearings and events. and then on the weekends this is the home of american history tv. the civil war's 150th anniversary, visiting key locations, discover what artifacts discover about america's past. the presidency, looking at the policies and legacy of our nation's commander in chiefs. and our new series, real america, featuring archival films through the '30s through the '70s. follow us on twitter and like us on facebook.
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>> not one democrat did i see at the hearing on freeing sergeant tahmooressi from the mexican prison. i wonder why. and i've called the president many times in the last months and sought the release of this man, and it seems to me that the president could have picked up the phone and with one call affected that release. i really don't think he cares. >> i just got done watching your c-span regarding the gentleman, the marine in mexico. i need to compliment you and tell you that this is the best evidence that i've ever seen or heard from any session on the television about the corruption that we have to deal with in the politics, particularly the president and all the things that he is doing wrong, and
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particularly what he's allowing to happen on the border between mexico and the united states. >> i was watching the town hall meeting earlier. from arizona. veterans' administration, hospital there. my heart was just broke at all the veterans and what they've been going through there. someone has to do something out there. it's just a mess. and it was really interesting to see just each and every one of them on tv today and the heartache that them and their families have been going through. and i pray that something will be done to help these people. they deserve it, they fought for our country and our freedom. thank you. and continue to let us know what you think about the programs you're watching.
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call us at 202-626-3400. or send us an e-mail. like us on facebook. follow us on twitter. friday night on c-span 3, american history tv exams spying in the u.s., and we'll start at 8:00 eastern with a tour of the cia museum and a look at spying during the civil war. and after that german espionage against the u.s. during world war two. a little later a conversation about the soviet spies of the cold war. the senate commerce committee over the summer held a hearing on college sports programs. they examined campus sexual assaults and whether student athletes should be paid, the head of the ncaa and author
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taylor branch. this hearing will come to order, and i want to thank all of you very much for coming here. you're a bit squeezed in there. but water is on the house, so be comfortable and be glad. college sports has an absolutely extraordinary position in the culture of our country. not only do college sports inspire incredible fan passion across the country, but they provide a very important way for young men and women to, as is written, do athletics as an avocation and get an education. we're going to talk about that today. many young people, however, athletes provide an avenue to college which otherwise wouldn't have existed, and we understand
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that. college athletes and athletics are rooted in the notion of amateurism. and the history of that is very interesting and important going back to the founding in 1906 and the rest of it, going back, actually, to a greek concept of amateurism. playing college sports is supposed to be an avocation. students play college sports for the love of the game, not for the love of money. that is the ideal. but many people believe this notion of college sports is being undermined by the power and the influence of money. i remember a meeting i had in my office with the three top executives of espn, and it was one of those meetings in which i didn't say a word because they just went around in circles, each talking about what a great business model they had, how they had control and power that no other broadcast system would
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ever have, and how thrilled they were with it and how they were going to make it even stronger. there is a growing perception that college athletics, particularly division i football and basketball are not avocations at all. what they really are is highly profitable commercial enterprises. they believe that. critics of big time college athletics say the goal of these programs are not to provide young people with a college education but to produce a winning spot in the brief financial awards for their schools. it is not, however, about the students. they're part of what generates the money. it's about capturing the billions of dollars of television and marketing revenues that college sports do generate and will generate even more.
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colleges and universities say these revenues benefit college athletes and their student bodies at large. but i think we have to consider whether the lure of such riches could corrupt the basic mission of athletic programs. winning teams get higher payouts than losing teams, which creates a strong incentive to win, an incentive which land grand public universities and others are more than happy to follow. and win at any cost. much of the money is often funnelled right back into those sports programs in the form of million-dollar coaching salaries and state of the art facilities, many of them paid for by the taxpayers to perpetuate the cycle of winning. i think somewhere in my reading here, about $48 million of all the $900 million that nca gets
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from, you know, their broadcasting, march madness and all the rest of it, a very small portion goes specifically to academics. but even that's hard to figure. because nobody has the figures. they work for them, they make the decisions, he carries out what they want, and yet i think the discussion is how does he carry out what they want? what powers do you have, mr. emmett, for actually carrying out what you think is a good idea? you've been president of three major universities at different places, and i would think that your passion for education would need to show itself. athletics to me are meant to serve schools and their public duty to educate students, not the other way around. that's the way it's always put
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forward and that's the way it should be. dr. mark emmet is here to present the position of the colleges. some declined to come here, but you did, and i'm grateful for that. i believe you were put at the helm because you have incredible credentials, and i think we all appreciate that you're tremendously compensated. i think i'm just very skeptical that the ncaa can never live up to the lofty mission that you constantly talk about and which is written and printed in speeches and statements and responses to penn state this or something else that. you know, the mission -- nothing comes before education -- is always there but the actions don't appear to be.
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i don't see how the ncaa will ever be capable of truly making a safe, good education experience for students their number one priority. i want you to tell me that i'm wrong, that i am wrong, and that i'm particularly wrong about the future. but i'll be a tough sell. i think we believe that the ncaa has largely been left to its own to determine what forms are appropriate and how to accomplish its mission. as we continue to learn more about what goes on in some major universities and colleges, we want to know if the ncaa is seriously considering how college athletes are faring under this system. not just living as they do, but injured as they often become,
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wracked by poverty. if they don't do well, maybe their stipends are cut off, and is there a mandated four-year scholarship. all these things are put at play. how are young men who strap on their helmets on a football field in front of a thousand paying customers, how are they doing? how are our young men who lace up their shoes and play basketball for march madness which consumes the nation and is deliberately spread out over a long period of time so that no kid 10 years or older can ever hope to do any homework because there's always basketball on. are colleges and universities living up to their end of the bargain and providing them with a good education? are these young athletes entitled to any of the billions of dollars that are reaped from their athletic services? and when young men and women are putting their bodies at risk, do
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they have adequate health insurance? i don't know. i don't know. and i never go into a barber shop or anything without asking, do you have health insurance, and i know the answer is going to be no. i care about health care, and i'm unhappy when people who work in places where they don't make a lot of money don't have health insurance. do the schools and athletic leagues minimize the risk of concussions and injury, and what about if they're injured before graduation, can he or she finish out their studies or does the scholarship run dry? well, a couple months ago, we all heard the deeply troubling comments of chavez pier, the most valuable player in the 2014 basketball tournament in the
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midst of a tournament that generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the ncaa and its members, he talked about how sometimes he didn't have enough to eat during college. how did the college benefit mr. napier the nights he had to go hungry? there he is, trying to turn an example of a famous athlete and turn it into a large problem. i'm not trying to do that, i think it is a problem, and the whole sense of giving students a safety net and a sense of confidence that if they don't turn out to be as good of running backs or point guards or whatever and they don't make the team or they're let off in their third year, are they dropped? do they get scholarships or what happens? i don't know. the title of today's hearing is "promoting the well-being and academic success of college athletes." i want to have an open and frank discussion on this subject and i'm going to try my best to. the ncaa has the same goal as i
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do. dr. emmett is going to tell us that the ncaa's goal is to promote sports as a means of achieving academic excellence. today i want to explore whether the ncaa is fulfilling its mission. we still hear too many reports of fraudulent academics, we still hear too many tragic stories of college athletes that have absolutely nothing to show for the services they provided even though they helped generate millions and millions of dollars. this subject is often discussed, but i'm here to tell you that if, per chance, the democrats should control the congress next time, and nobody is quite sure of that. john thune has one idea, bill nelson has another idea -- and you. yeah, okay.
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and then i think we want to continue this. we want to make this a continuing search of this oversight committee. we have jurisdiction over sports, all sports, all sports. and we have the ability to subpoena, we have the ability to -- we created a special investigations unit. we're very into this subject. i personally am, i think our members are. so this is a part of a process here. so i'm going to have some tough questions for our panel as the ncaa and its members schools, are they a cartel? have they become an enterprise which is no different than the corporate witnesses who have appeared before this committee or is the ncaa truly different? and does the 100-year
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old organization in fact have the best interests of our college athletes. i turn now to my very distinguished ranking member, senator john thune, from the state of south dakota. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding the hearing today, and i want to thank our panelists for the opportunity to examine the current state of collegiate athletics. and, like you, i look forward to hearing from our witnesses, including the president of the national collegiate athletic association is how the members of its institutions are fulfilling the commitments made to our collegiate student athletes. i'm an avid sports fan. i know all the members of this committee are as well. as a former basketball player in high school and college and a proud father of a daughter who competed at the division i level, i certainly recognize the participation in organized sports not only requires physical and mental strength but also teaches teamwork and other skills that serve you throughout life. however, the college student
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athlete is and should be a student first. colleges and universities must remember and prioritize their academic obligation to student athletes. as the popularity of college sports has grown, particularly the popularity of college football and men's and women's basketball, so, too, has the profitability of many collegiate programs. in the current environment, the stakes have been raised both for the student athlete who wants to succeed and for the university who has a financial interest in winning games. increasing revenues for some games and the broadcast rights have become more common. revenues for ticket sales are also significant and alumni want to see their teams win and may be inspired to contribute to winning programs. it is a driven organization to
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integrate collegiate athletes into higher education so the education of a student athlete is paramount, end quote. however, some institutions appear unable to balance the core academic mission of the university and the commercial considerations that often accompany college athletics, particularly in high-profile sports. many feel the commitment to the student athlete is falling short. another point of contention involves athletic scholarships and whether the practice of offering annual as opposed to multi-year scholarships unfairly puts the student athlete at risk of losing their scholarships as a result of poor performance or injury. while multi-year scholarships may provide an advantage, they may disadvantage smaller schools that can't match certain institutions. we will hear from ncaa's most vocal critics today. while i'm sure today's hearing will highlight important issues, i hope we will not lose sight of the positive impact that amateur
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athletics have made on the lives of countless student athletes. we must remember that college athletics is not just about football and basketball. the general director of south dakota recently shared the interviews he conducts annually to evaluate the school's athletic program from the vantage point of the athletes themselves. he underscored two stories that stood out from this past year of interviews with athletes. he reiterated how a sophomore diver at usd recovered from open heart surgery to qualify for a dive in the championships, a feat that would not be possible without the work of a dedicated training staff, academic support, coaches, team and family. he also noted the moving story of a sophomore swimmer who leaned on friends, family and teammates to help her through the tragic loss of her father who passed away early in the season. with this support, hannah was
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able to return to the pool and achieve lifetime best times in the summit league championships. as the usdaa athletic director put it these are examples of what college means, if you strip away the buck, you are left with student athletes who often have to overcome personal, social, economic, athletic adversity all just to compete but they frequently do wit passion and determination na makes us all proud end quote. that's from the athletic director of the university of south dakota. recognizing challenges exist. it's my hope the member institution the student athletes, themselves and other stakeholders, will seek solutions to promote the education, health and seek to preserve amateurism. this is an area where congress can provide a forum but the solutions are most-likely to come from those most wage involved in the education and development of student athletes. mr. chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing.
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i look forward to hearing and having an opportunity to question our witnesses. thank you. >> thank you, sir. what we're going to do now is we're going to hear the testimony and then both senator mccaskill and senator booker, both of whom are sterling and wonderful people are going to get very, very angry at me because i'm going to charge into the regular order and i'm going to allow senator coates to ask the first question, which rights all the rules of the committee. >> well, i'm mad. >> that will make you a better questioner. >> as the most junior member of the committee, the rules will not allow me to be mad at you. >> mr. chairman, for what it's worth.
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i was under the impression we were one of the first to arrive and be able to ask questions in order. i arrived at 23:10 so i could be first. i didn't want to put you in a bad spot or breach the rules eitherer. >> you never do you will ask the first questions after the two of us. and thank you for being here and don't be nervous. okay. i mean it. it's a wonderful opportunity to say what's in your heart and on your mind. >> first i want to invite the committee to share my experience of knowledge on this very important subject. it's a very complicated subject as well. i've had many conversations with fellow student athletes on this issue about the current role of student athletes today in this giant scheme of collegiate athletics. we often walk away from those conversations with more questions than answers. so i'm hoping today is a first step towards answering some of those questions and providing some context and some clarity to this discussion so that we can see our student athletes receive maximum edification in all
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aspects of their person, be it a man or woman student, an athlete, a wasn't and a him who, that's very important to me. i want to start my remarks by the genesis of my story. my parents are from the highlands of the bahamas, i was born here in the states and raised. i went to high school in princeton, new jersey. after high school days if princeton, i would go over to the university and i saw the big poster, a statue and trophies of
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this guy who became my he. his name was bill bradley. he was just a rockstar, in my opinion. the epitome of what a student athlete out to be, best player in college. at a school like princeton, nba. hall of famer, u.s. senator and a road scholar. that's the first time i heard those roads in the same sentence. once i finished high school in princeton, i had 83 scholarship offers to go anywhere and play football. i was rated the number one prospect in the country by espn. when i got to campus the first thing i did was go to the office of national fellowships and tell them i want to be a scholar. three years later, i was fortunate to earn that! then i went to meet my teachers and tell them i want you to increase my educational capital, so i can be a pediatric nurse.
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now i'm a senior medical student hopefully able do that in the future. lastly, i went to my athletic coaches and football coaches and told them i want them to equip my body and get pe ready for a career as a national football player around fortunately i was able to be with the titans and play for the steelers as well. now it may sound like my story is pristine and ideal and used as the poster child for which you want a collegiate athlete to have an experience. i will say my story is quite rare and unique. some people call it an anomaly. outside of for cory booker the last to win a rose scholarship was a guy called pat hayden. he played at usc and los angeles rams as a quarterback.
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there are few athletes i have come in contact with had the same infrastructure the family support the foresights, not come from a broken school or family able to engage if their college experience and maximize their team. many more of my teammates, family, friends, struggled in the college environment, struggled economically. now with the scholarship stipends they received they became believe it or not the main bread winners for there families and had so send some scholarship money home to take care of their immediate and extended family. they struggled academically as well. a lot would go through this academic machinery and be spit out of that machine, left, torn, warn, asked some questions. we were no directional guidance on where they should go. no purpose, no idea of their trajectory, sometimes it didn't behoove their interests. i open we can shed light as you said chairman rockefeller we are pouring energy and exposure and highlighting on tv the life of the athlete. but i believe we are still falling a bit short of edifying
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and improving him augmenting the aspect of the student, the person the man, the woman and the philanthropist and the leader. i believe if we do that, we can see these athletes at major schools be productive, but more importantly, be productive leaders and citizens that go on to be industries of men and women and really have an indelible impact as they go on to their future. thank you for having me here. i'm looking forward to having this drugs. >> thank you, very, very much and now devonn ramsay. >> welcome. >> good afternoon. devonn. right? >> good afternoon, chairman. >> yeah. >> good afternoon, chairman rockefeller and members ought committee. it is an honor and a pleasure to have this opportunity to be in your presence and share my story and thoughts on the current state of college athletics. let me first thank you and your staff for the invitation. 1988 in red bank, new jersey. my mother has always vowed anything education and sent me to a blue ribbon school that covered kindergarten through 8th grade. i excelled in the claszroom and participated in athletics.
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i decide to sign my letter of intent to go to the university of north carolina, chapel hill. what drew me to that school was not only its esteemed reputation as a top academic institution but a new hire of coach davis. it showed that the university had an all-around commitment to excellence. now my career at the university of north carolina has been one filled with adversity. i've undergone five surgeries, been through three head coaches, and been asked if i wanted to transfer or take a medical red shirt. however, despite all this, i managed to be named an offensive starter four out of the six years. and named the top three in my position. but most importantly, i got my degree in public policy,
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concentration in business. i moved back to red bank, where i would pursue my hopes of making a nfl team. however, i didn't make the team at tampa bay. now in the summer of 2010, two of my teammates have violated ncaa rules and attended a party thrown by sports agents. the university launched their own investigation into the matter and discovered several counts of academic fraud. before we played clemson, i was told to report to one of the conference rooms and was brought in for questioning. before the questioning began i was told that this conversation would be recorded and was asked if i needed a lawyer. i thought i had been called in there to see if they could find any more leads for the investigation. then they asked, they began to ask me about my definition of academic fraud, academic dishonesty and plagiarism.
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and that's when they brought out a two-year-old e-mail correspondence between myself and a tutor. in the e-mail i asked for help with grammar and overall help in the paper. she replied by adding four to five sentences to a two and a half page paper. they asked me if this is the exact same paper i turned in. however, i couldn't remember, since it was two years ago. in the following four weeks, i was held out of competition, they sent me to the university's honor court. and an attorney general of the honor court said there was no evidence here. they had no final version of the paper, it wasn't submitted electronically, and i don't know. most people don't keep papers from two years ago. as i was being held out by unc, an official from the compliance office proposed that if i were to plead guilty after being held for so many games that the eanc
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would allow me to play. i believed he was well versed in ncaa policy. it was a shocking blow when they ruled me of academic fraud which tarnishes my reputation and strips away my eligibility. after coming to the realization that unc was more concerned with penalties and losses of scholarship than protecting one of its own, my mother and i set out to find lawyers that would hopefully have my best interests at heart. however, none wanted to stand against the ncaa or its membership. thankfully for me, a state supreme court judge reached out to my mother after reading an article, i had no one to turn to. as we went through the appeals process, which was possible with the endorsement of the university of north carolina, the leadership at unc once again wanted me to take a plea for a
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reduced sentence, however, the judge, high mother and i needed to have my name unsullied. by going back and looking at the original interview, the ncaa overturned its ruling and reinstated my eligibility. unfortunately, the first game of the next season i tore three ligaments in my knee. after receiving a sixth year of eligibility i was not able to return to the play until my final game, which i participated in two plays. now one of the things that was looking back at my career that i wish i could have partaken in, was in internships. a few of my friends from lawrenceville wednesday on to play at the ivy league. and with their, it's not as demanding as, you know, high-level division one football. they were allowed to go in, you know, pursue other things during the summer. and upon graduation, some of my friends got great job offers.
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an internship gives you direction, teaches you valuable life lessons and prepares you for a level of professionalism. at a competitive football school, completing an internship is virtually impossible. in order to steve your steepnd in the summer one must be enrolled in a certain number of credit hours. i've seen several teammates try to manage and they ended up quitting because they were exhausted. only one was able to count toward his credit hours and he wasn't required to go to any classes. it would create another source of income. in fact, during a panel discussion about the documentary school, the price of college sport, head coach of the george
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mason men's team paul hewitt says his team has to do an internship before they graduate, a mandatory one. i think this is a great practice. if the ncaa truly wants to develop student athletes and prepare them for success on the field then they should mandate that all athletes complete an internship. the reason it needs to be mandated is because of the existing culture that demonizes anything that won't help the program. i have friends that were labeled as selfish and lazy and almost a cancer to the team. but, in fact, he's just going home. he's still working out. he's just trying to prove his own value and likelihood that he's not going to make the nfl. i've come to realize that there's a void in college athletics. the ncaa as an institution no longer protects the student athlete. they're more concerned with signage and profit margins. i wasn't aware that i needed to
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defend myself against the university and the ncaa. and as a student, i lacked the resources and knowledge to defend myself against an 80-year old institution. my family lacked the resources to hire a lawyer, and if i refused to be interviewed i would have been hell out until i testified. in the ncaa, college football players have a very small window of opportunity prove our worth to the nfl. therefore every game you miss is a lost opportunity. there needs to exist an entity that quickly and effectively advocates for the student the athlete. i was extremely fortunate that judge orr reached out to my family. but it terrifies me to think of those who may have their reputation damaged. the student athlete has a short career and is an amazing renewable resource. and because of that, the ncaa is able to take vac of naïve men and women. there needs to be an institution
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that has no ties to the universities or the ncaa, allowing the ncaa to continue to intimidate athletes and schools is unfair. to quota poet, "who will watch the watchman." >> thank you very much. we appreciate it a lot. mr. taylor branch is from baltimore. he's an author and has written what i call five best books ever written in terms of my own reading preferences. about the civil rights movement and the development of it. and he's also an expert on this subject and has written extensive extensively. we welcome you, sir. >> thank you. thank you senator rockefeller and senator thune. thank you, members of the committee, guests, sports fans, educators. i'm honored to be here. the subject for your hearing today, college sports and the
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well-being of college athletes is full of minefields and myths. i hope to offer some summary comments for possible discussion under three headings. amateurism, balance and equity. amateurism has become the distinguishing feature of ncaa governments. it is identified in official pronouncement as the he bedrock princip principle. it is defined as follows. student athletes should be amateurs and their participation should be motivated primarily by education and by the physical, mental and social benefits to be derived. student participation in intercollegiate athletics is an avocation, and student athletes should be protected from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises, closed quote. that's ncaa bylaw 2.9.
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the word amateur reflects conflicted attitudes about money, youth, and the purposes of recreation. its broad am biv lance has opened a muddled flexibility in public habits, allowing the united states to become the only nation to develop sports at higher learning. even the major universities which were founded to uphold intellectual rigor ignore the multi-billion side industry built on their students. it begins with the word itself. dictionary synonyms go from a rookie and gives a stinging "the people who run that company are a bunch of amateurs."
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this ambiguity gains reenforcement in our uniquely designed popular world of sports where fans are encouraged to cheer and boo without thinking objectively. the idea of amateurism has always been misleading, because the athletes for olympus completed for huge prizes. modern scholars have confirmed high stakes victory and loss. purists who refuse to mix money with sport did not exist in the ancient world, concludes one author. a golf legend bobby jones is enshrined as the model amateur and gentleman who declined every
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championship prize he earned. his reputation fits the true definition of amateur, which is derived from the latin meaning lover, someone who chooses because of devotion and not financial gain. significantly, students themselves call themselves amateurs when they invented intercollegiate sports after the civil war. until 1905, students retained general control of the new phenomenon from everything from scheduling and equipment to ticket sales. they recruited alumni to construct harvard stadium in 1903 with zero funds from the college. neither the faculties or other critics assisted in developing
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athletics from the man who became the father of college football in his spare time. the ncaa created in 1906 slowly transformed the amateur tradition inherited from college athletes. its board declared a goal of total faculty control as late as 1922, and the weak ncaa organization could not hire its first full-time staff member until 1951. after that, however, burgening revenue changed it. personal motivation commonly run afoul of the constitution. even if internal standards were allowed and could be measured, ncaa rules contradict the key element that sports must be an avocation, which comes from
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coc -- vocare and vox. balance, checks and balances are required for sound governance. and the ncaa structure is unbalanced in at least four basic respects. first, ncaa enforcement suffers an inherent conflict of interest between alleged violations in football as opposed to basketball, because the organization lost its television revenue from college football and is almost wholly dependent on a sole-source broadcasting contract for the march madness basketball tournament. second, the ncaa structure creates a false impression of common practice between the very few schools that aggressively commercialize college athletics, roughly 100 to 150.
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and amateurism stretches all the way from a cross country race to notre dame football on espn. third, the, in the classroom they transfer highly valued expertise to students. but this traditional role is reversed in big-time sports. there, athletes deliver highly valued expertise to the colleges. this distinction is basic and fundamental to your committee's stated purpose of promoting educational integrity. college athletes are or should be students in the class ram and competitor players in the athletic department. they face multiple roles and careers like many americans, but their conflicting demands cannot be balanced unless they are squarely recognized. the ncaa undermines this by
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insisting that sports are a supplement for a hybrid creature called the student athlete. universities implicitly concur by offloading some of their academic responsibility to the ncaa. fourth, the ncaa and member schools strip rights from athletes uniquely as a class. no college tries to ban remunetive work for all students, and no legislature to corps would write laws to confiscate earnings from one targeted group of producers in a legitimate enterprise. on the contrary they have work-study programs and student citizens everywhere exercise freedom in pizza delivery and bookstores. for college athletes alone, the ncaa brands such industry
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unethical. equity. basic fairness requires attention to the rights and freedom of participants above the convenience of observers. applied to college sports, this principle would mean that no freedom should be abridged because of athletic status. while i am neither a lawyer nora professional economist, i find ample historical evidence that experts object to collusion in the ncaa's regulatory structure. in micro economics, the prominent the textbook, they make the ncaa a featured example of an economic cartel, which reaps anti-competitive profit. the courts have agreed in two landmark cases. in ncaa versus board of regents in the university of oklahoma in 1984. they struck down the ncaa's exclusive control of college football broadcasts as an
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illegal restraint of trade. overnight, the schools won the freedom to sell every broadcast their markets would bear without having to share proceeds through the ncaa. we eat what we killed the bragged one official at the university of texas. in 1998, assistant coaches won a settlement alock with an order vacating the ncaa's $16,000 limit on starting salaries. the compensation of assistant football coaches has cracked the $1 million barrier since then, with salaries skyrocketing even in non-revenue sports. by 2010, the university of florida paid its volleyball coach $365,000. thus, the supervisors of college sports have won economic freedom, and they enjoy enormous largess from a distorted cartel marketplace that shackles only
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the most vital talent -- the players. to reduce bargaining powers, the ncaa creates and enforces rules regarding eligibility and the terms of compensation. ncaa officials, of course, steadfastly assert that their whole system is devoted to the ed casual welfare and benefit of the college athletes. football will never again be placed ahead of educating, nurturing and protecting young people. ncaa president mark emirate sitting near me vowed when he announced sanctions for the recent scandal at penn state. such concessions must be reconciled with denying athletes from due process and representation to the presumption of innocence. these rules can turn words on their head, like alice in wonderland. the ncaa's bedrock pledge to
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avoid commercial exploitation of college athletes, for instance, aims to safeguard them from getting paid too much or at all, rather than too little in the ordinary usage of the word exploit. to use selfishly for one's ends as an employers who exploit their workers. in closing, be i would suggest one hopeful precedent from the past work of your commerce committee. this is not the first time that the governance of amateur sports together with the education of college athletes has presented a daunting tangle of vested interests. the bitter feud intensified between the ncaa and aau which controlled access to the olympic games. aau leaders accused and quote, unpatriotic ncaa of sabotaging u.s. chances to win medals. they claimed that college athletes already were paid and
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therefore not amateurs at all since the ncaa approved scholarships in 1956. ncaa officials retorted that they were parasites on college training facilities. these two sides nit-picked and disqualified each other until president kennedy enlisted no less a mediator than general douglas macarthur to foster homes for the 1964 tokyo olympics. it exhausted macarthur who recommended blue ribbon commissions. and the 1978 sports act came about. one key provision secured for active athletes a 20% share of the voting seats on each of the 39 new u.s. olympic committees. though small, this representation soon transformed amateur sports. granted a voice, athletes tipped
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the balance on governing bodies in the united states and around the globe. marathon races, then tennis tournaments recognized the right for players to accept prize money and keep their eligibility. new leagues sprung up in volleyball. professional competitors were welcomed in every sport except boxing. by 1986 when the international olympic committee expunged the word amateurs. most people scarcely don't notice the change. some of you helped recognize success in the revised ted stevens olympic act of 1998. this example suggests a good place to start. wherever possible, make athletes true citizens, rather than
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glorified vassals. make them fair and competitive. uphold the rights of college athletes. give them a voice and challenge universities in turn to make wise, straightforward decisions about the compatibility of sports with education. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. branch. and i want to be very critical of myself. because what, the general rule around here is that the witnesses speak for five or six minutes, but i failed to make that clear. and so we just got -- >> says five minutes right here, but i wasn't watching. sorry.
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