June 2020 - 18

Brain
Game
Using data to prevent concussions
in athletes
By Wesley Sykes, Managing Editor
There was a time in the early to mid-2000s where
ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, hosted a weekly
segment on its Sunday NFL Countdown program under
the title 'Jacked Up!'. The premise for 'Jacked Up!' was
fairly simple: compile the week's biggest bone-crushing
hits from around the NFL and count them down until
reaching the best hit of the week. The talking heads
would give a play-by-play of these vicious, jump-out-ofyour-TV
hits and culminate the clips with a collective cry
of " You got jacked up! " before moving on to the next play.
The segment quickly became one of the more must-see
clips on the four-letter network, serving both as a way to
highlight the defensive aspect of the game and to advertise
the intensity in which the game is played.
Fast forward to today's NFL landscape - where you'll
find no such segments on ESPN, or any major sports
network, for that matter - and the collective perspective
on the very same spine-tingling hits has done a complete
turnaround. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) identified concussions as a " silent epidemic " and a
major public health concern. The heightened awareness
of the negative health implications behind concussions
18 JUNE 2020
has had an inevitable trickle-down effect to the collegiate,
amateur, varsity, and youth athletics across the country.
With more awareness comes more testing, recognizing
early symptoms, and deployment of preventative
measures across all levels of sports. And the numbers
bear this out.
In a November 2019 study published in the journal
Pediatrics, which looked at 9,542 concussions across 20
high school sports from the 2013-14 school year through
2017-18, the rate of concussions increased during football
games from 33.19 to 39.07 per 10,000 athletic exposures
(AE). [Athletic exposure is defined as one practice or
competition per athlete.] But on an overall basis across
the sports landscape the other notable takeaway from the
study was the decrease in recurrent concussions of all
student-athletes during the study, dropping from 0.47 to
0.28 per 10,000 AE.
The reason for the dip in recurring concussions?
Avinash Chandran, the co-author of the study and a brain
injury researcher from the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, said, in his opinion, it's partially related to the
heightened awareness.

June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of June 2020

June 2020 - 1
June 2020 - 2
June 2020 - 3
June 2020 - 4
June 2020 - 5
June 2020 - 6
June 2020 - 7
June 2020 - 8
June 2020 - 9
June 2020 - 10
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June 2020 - 12
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