Congressman Tim Walz took part in a bipartisan meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff General Lloyd Austin, the Brain Injury Task Force, and other Members of Congress to share best practices and raise awareness to help soldiers, civilians, and athletes prevent and recover from debilitating head injuries. The Wednesday meeting was organized by Representatives Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), Co-Chairs of the Military Veterans' Caucus. Walz released the following statement.
"TBI is a complex, often times devastating injury and no case is exactly the same. It affects the patients' quality of life and their ability to live normal, healthy lives.
"We must do everything in our power to provide effective treatment options to those affected. This requires collaboration among experts within the field to share best practices. Doing so will ensure every citizens, soldier, and athlete suffering from TBI receives comprehensive, holistic treatment options that allow them to recover function and achieve independence.
"By bringing some of the best known and most affected groups together to raise awareness and fight this debilitating condition, we're working to do just that. I look forward to a continued partnership with the NFL, the military, and others; together we will tackle this terrible injury."
Walz, a former football coach and the highest ranking enlisted soldier to ever serve in Congress, has fought hard to shed light on TBI, often referred to as an "invisible wound," and provide effective treatment options for those living with the injury.
Earlier this year legislation he authored that would improve care for veterans with TBI passed the House as part of the Honoring America's Veterans Act and was signed into law by the President.
According to the U.S. Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services, between 2000 and 2012, more than 253,000 service members have been diagnosed with TBI. Outside the military, nearly 2 million people across our country suffer a TBI each year, including NFL players and athletes of all ages and sports.