Gfeller Visits White House

Bob Gfeller and Gerry Gioia at White House 5-29-14 resize

Gfeller Attends Concussion Summit at White House
Represents Son, Matthew, that Sustained Traumatic Brain Injury Playing Football

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – May 29, 2014 – Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma Executive Director Robert J. “Bob” Gfeller, Jr. and his wife, Lisa, attended President Obama’s Healthy Kids & Safe Sports Concussion Summit at the White House today. The Gfellers lost their younger son, Matthew, after he sustained a traumatic brain injury during a high school football game.

“My wife and I are honored to be included in the Concussion Summit and hope the President’s support will raise awareness about sports-related brain injuries and save the lives of injured children,” said Gfeller. Since critical injury to children is a deeply personal issue for Gfeller, he recently left an executive vice president position at a Fortune 500 company to become the executive director of the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma.

The Childress Institute, founded through the generosity of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress and his wife Judy, helps fund research to improve the treatment for critically injured children in the U.S., including an ongoing study to measure head impacts in youth football. Study results found that in high school players a single season of football can produce brain MRI changes in the absence of a diagnosed concussion, which demonstrated that these impact-related changes in the brain have a strong association with a post-season change in cognitive function.

More than 70 percent of the football players in the United States are under age 14, so more research is needed to study the effect of repeated blows to the head in young players. The Childress Institute hopes further results will allow equipment designers, researchers, and clinicians to prevent, mitigate, identify and treat injuries to help make football a safer activity for millions of children.

For more information about serious injuries to children, visit www.InjuredKids.org, www.twitter.com/injuredkids, www.facebook.com/ChildressPediatricTrauma, or www.savinginjuredkids.blogspot.com.