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Publish date: Mar 30, 2011

New group addresses concussions in sports

A new multi-disciplinary organization has been created to collaboratively address sports-related concussion injuries.

The National Sports Concussion Cooperative was founded through a partnership among the American Football Coaches Association; the Matthew Gfeller Foundation; the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill’s, Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center; and Rawlings Sporting Goods. 

“The position of the National Sports Concussion Cooperative is clear: Protective equipment manufacturers, scientific researchers, the football community and concerned parents are addressing the concussion issue in a sincere but independent manner,” said Jason Mihalik, assistant professor in the department of exercise and sport science at North Carolina. “The introduction of this group will help create a movement to collectively bring together the best thinking from these and ultimately other stakeholders who have expertise in distinctly different, yet closely related, disciplines.”

An NSCC statement said the organization plans to “to incorporate into the group other organizations from the representative disciplines – plus the medical and clinical care communities – that share the cooperative’s commitment to improving the safety of contact sports, specifically football.”

The collaborative will identify the most pressing concussion concerns and set a course for assessing their significance through research and peer review during its first meeting in Chapel Hill on May 2. After the meeting, additional partners will be invited to join.

“The opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with industry leaders in a variety of disciplines, all working hard to make our game safer for our players, is rare and certainly one that we welcome,” said AFCA Executive Director Grant Teaff. “On behalf of more than 11,000 member coaches of the AFCA and the players entrusted to our care, we are driven to play our part in making football a safer sport.”

Although the NCAA is currently not directly affiliated with the NSCC, the Association has an ongoing partnership with Mihalik and his colleagues at the Matthew A. Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center. The group regularly creates educational resources for the NCAA membership and is responsible for two influential studies on concussions (Cumulative Effects Associated with Recurrent Concussion in Collegiate Football Players: The NCAA Concussion Study and Acute Effects and Recovery Time Following Concussion in Collegiate Football Players: The NCAA Concussion Study), which led to the development of the NCAA concussion guidelines.