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Taubes dedicate $14.5 million to study youth addiction, concussions

Gifts to address some of 'the hardest problems' facing young people

Woodside residents and philanthropists Tad and Dianne Taube recently dedicated a total of $14.5 million to the study of two major problem areas for young people: addictions, including cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and social media; and concussions, with a focus on sports- and recreation-related injuries.

The gifts – $9.5 million to launch the Tad and Dianne Taube Youth Addiction Initiative and $5 million to create the Taube Stanford Concussion Collaborative – were announced in a Jan. 31 joint statement from the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Among Americans who meet the criteria for being considered addicted, more than 90 percent began using the addictive substances before the age of 18, according to the statement. This program is unique in the United States in addressing these problems in adolescents, the statement says.

"Going after the hardest problems is not only the right thing to do, it is the prudent thing to do," Dr. Lloyd Minor, the Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine, said in the statement. "I am immensely grateful to Tad and Dianne Taube for their dedication to Stanford Medicine and their bold commitment to the health and well-being of children and adolescents everywhere."

As for sports- and recreation-related concussions, some 3.8 million occur annually among young Americans, the statement says. Exacerbating this "epidemic" is a "tough it out" culture that has the effect of trivializing the injuries, prolonging recovery time and increasing risks for subsequent concussions, the statement says.

"Tad and I share the concerns of fellow parents about the safety of young athletes in our community and beyond," Dianne Taube says in the statement. "Our hope through this gift is to ensure the safety of our youth and provide current, useful information to educate parents, coaches, and players."

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