A research project in Texas will track brain injuries sustained by middle and high school athletes in the state.
KCEN-TV reports that the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body for Texas public high school sports, is partnering with the O'Donnell Brain Institute at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, to track two dozen sports, from football to girls soccer.
The data gathered will include concussion cases reported by middle and high school athletic trainers and other school personnel in all UIL-sanctioned athletic activities. The UIL has more than 1,400 member schools.
With more than 800,000 public high school athletes, data from Texas would be vital in developing a national database of brain injuries in youths, officials say.
Researchers will record what caused an injury, the amount of recovery time needed as well as other necessary data. One of the goals is to evaluate sporting rules and equipment to see if adjustments could be made to improve player safety.
The study will collect more concussion data than ever before, the UIL says. Until now, the league has required only one school from each district to report concussions in their weekly injury reporting system.
“The UIL Medical Advisory Committee has been focused on concussions since its inception 15 years ago, and this concussion registry will provide valuable information and help us continue to improve the safety of extracurricular athletics,” says Charles Breithaupt, UIL Executive Director.
Dr. Munro Cullum, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and neurotherapeutics, is leading the study. He says that determining the frequency of concussions across is critical for improving the safety of high school sports.
The project is modeled after a smaller concussion study that Dr. Cullum helped launch last year that tracks more detailed information about concussions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
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