DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy faculty recently provided local teachers with methods to identify the signs of concussion in their students and information on how to address the issue at the Gulf Regional Innovative Teaching Conference (GRITC) at Fairhope Middle School.
Academy faculty members Dr. Stephen Butler, dean of academic affairs; Dr. Brandon Spradley, chair of sports management; Dr. Vincent Ramsey, chair of sports exercise science; and Dr. Bret Simmermacher, chair of sports coaching, gave teachers at the conference a presentation on concussion awareness. The goal of the presentation was to give the teachers an overview of the Academy’s concussion awareness program and help them recognize and address concussion among their students.
Over the past year, the Academy has worked with the University of South Alabama (USA) Department of Neurology and the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS) under the Concussion Awareness Program (CAP), funded in part by a grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to USA.
Under the program directed by USA, the University and the Academy developed procedures for use by the school system to better protect student athletes from the negative health consequences of concussions. Students, coaches and others involved in contact sports programs are provided training on concussion awareness and prevention. Protocols are also put in place to make sure that student athletes who receive concussions are not allowed to return to play until medical professionals approve. The Academy recently acquired a letter of cooperation to expand the program to the Baldwin County Public School System.
Concussion has become a major issue of concern in contact sports in recent years, especially in relation to the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE, among professional football players and other athletes. Caused by repeated blows to the head and recurring concussions, the disease has been blamed for cognitive and intellectual impairment, mood disorders, depression, drug abuse, and suicide attempts among elite athletes.
In addition to its involvement in CAP, the Academy offers a free online course on sport-related concussions which provides an in-depth review of the risks, prevention, recognition, treatment and management of sport-related concussions. The course also discusses the importance of awareness and education strategies for coaches, athletes, parents, administrators, and health care professionals. The course is available by going to https://ussa.edu/freecourses/.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.