From peewee to pros, the U.S. sports culture has become hard-headed about concussions.
Being knocked silly is no longer silly. Getting your bell rung means facing the music — or at least the head trainer — not sneaking back onto the field when the coach isn’t looking.
The days of a woozy player running around on autopilot, oblivious of the action, aren't completely over, to be sure. But a conference this weekend at the University of Texas at Arlington aims to share the latest concussion research with doctors, coaches, athletic trainers and even parents — including how to better spot incapacitated athletes and ensure that they remain safely on the sidelines until they are fully healed.
Conference organizer Jacob Resch, an assistant professor of kinesiology at UT Arlington, is leading a long-term study on young athletes in North Texas. He and researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Health Resources have recorded baseline measurements for every middle and high school athelete at Pantego Christian Academy and the DeSoto school district. When one of the athletes suffers a concussion, the researchers compare test results with the baseline data, and work to ensure that the student is fully recovered before he or she resumes contact.
The conference begins at 6 p.m. Friday with a keynote address by former Cowboys fullback Daryl “Moose” Johnston, now an NFL broadcaster for Fox Sports. Leading experts from around the country will present topics Saturday, including four lab demonstrations in the afternoon.
Registration must be done in advance. Find out more here.
-Patrick M. Walker