Virginia Tech participates in NCAA initiative to limit concussions among college athletes, military personnel
Virginia Tech is participating in a new, landmark $30 million national effort sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the U.S. Department of Defense to combat concussions among college athletes and active service military personnel.
The NCAA-U.S. Department of Defense initiative funds the most comprehensive study of concussion and head impact exposure ever conducted. It will enroll an estimated 25,000 male and female NCAA student-athletes during a three-year study period. Virginia Tech will focus on athletes participating in various sports, including football, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, and women’s lacrosse.
Despite overwhelming evidence of the sport’s dangers, high school football participation is down just 2% since 2008. Since the kids won’t kick the sport, legislators and state athletic associations are trying to make it safer.
It’s a hot July afternoon, just before a thunderstorm. The Bonnette family is in the living room next to a fan, discussing schedules. 17-year-old Giuliana Bonnette plays the right side position for the varsity volleyball team at Dominion High School in Sterling. She is now recovered from two concussions she suffered in the spring.
“It started out as just a really bad headache, and a little bit of confusion,” Bonnette said.
These were Giuliana Bonnette’s symptoms after her first concussion 6 months ago. Her head slammed against the ground during volleyball tryouts. It was first diagnosed as whiplash.
The days of jarring hits in football being brushed off as “dings” or “cleaning out the cobwebs” are long gone.
With growing concerns over sports-related concussions, prep football players, coaches and parents are urged to take every high-impact collision seriously.
From Pop Warner to the pros, football players will soon strap on their helmets for another hard-hitting season on the gridiron. Those hard hits can be dangerous, even deadly. Helmet companies claim new products can protect your kids from concussions, but do they really work?
The big helmet-to-helmet hits send football fans to their feet. The problem is that the hits also send players to the hospital. The concussion discussion dominates safety speak at every level.
Although most people have a general idea of what concussions are, there are still some myths surrounding the injury.
A lineman who plays in high school, college and the pros may retire with 10,0000 sub-concussive hits, none of which were diagnosed, none of which he is aware of. The aggregate of these hits produce brain damage much more severe than being knocked out three times.
Prominent neurologists and researchers like Robert Cantu, Julian Bailes, Kevin Guskiewicz, Kristen Willeumier and David Hovda report that three or more concussions may lead to exponentially higher rates of Alzheimer’s, ALS, dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and depression. This is different from other injuries. Brain function provides memory, judgment, and personality — what it means to be a sentient human being. That is why we are forming a new foundation, “Athletes Speak,” with players advocating awareness and prevention.
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) applauds and encourages the growing research in the area of concussion protection for athletes, including the work released this month by Virginia Tech. Coaches, consumers and parents should be aware that while the STAR rating system suggests the purchase of specific football helmets, scientific evidence does not support the claim that a particular helmet brand or model is more effective in reducing the occurrence of concussive events.
Brain injuries in youth sports have been on the rise in recent years, alarming many parents about the lifelong effects of concussions. The number of brain injuries linked to American youth increased 62 percent between the years of 2001 and 2009, with reported incidents around 250,000 in 2009 (Obama, NFL, NCAA Get Behind Research into Concussions in Youth Sports: Insurance Journal, May 29, 2014).