Posted August 19, 2008
Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club today announced it will donate $30,000 to the youth head concussion education and prevention program, sponsored by Dr. Caroline Faure, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Department of Sports Science and Physical Education at Idaho State University. The donation from Wal-Mart will help create a grass-roots education program for coaches in youth sports, aimed at assisting them in better identifying the symptoms of concussions and how to prevent and manage concussions when they occur.
Every year one in six high school football players will sustain a concussion. When treated incorrectly, a concussion can have devastating effects on young athletes, sometimes even resulting in death. Dr. Faure recently completed a study that determined many Idaho football coaches are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of concussion and are inexperienced in managing instances of mild concussion.
“Coaches express interest in wanting to learn more,” said Dr. Faure. “This generous donation from Wal-Mart will help us provide these coaches with the expertise to manage concussion and decide when it is safe to let athletes return to physical activity.”
When concussions are not managed correctly, the side effects can be long term and can even result in death. Symptoms include headaches, depression, mood swings and learning disabilities. Sudden Impact Syndrome (SIS), the most dangerous effect, occurs when an athlete who has sustained one head injury returns to play too early. If the athlete then sustains a second concussion before the symptoms associated with the first blow have fully healed, the result could be death.
“In my study, I found that many coaches, especially those at schools without designated athletic trainers, were not following research-based approaches to concussion management and their lack of understanding clouded their judgment when making decisions about returning players to the field,” explained Dr. Faure. “I found only 54 percent of coaches had been trained how to properly fit a football helmet, even though fitting a helmet is one of the best way to prevent football-related concussions.”
The educational program Dr. Faure is developing will help youth sport coaches identify a concussion along with objective ways to manage concussion and to determine when it is safe to return athletes to play.
"Wal-Mart believes in supporting localized, grass-roots programs with the ultimate goal of supporting the communities where we operate and live. Dr. Faure’s research serves a critical need in ensuring the health and safety of our youth. We applaud her efforts and hope this donation helps in creating a useful, crucial program for coaches, mentors and players alike.” said Gary Black, Pocatello Wal-Mart Store Manager.
For more information on sports-related concussion and neurocognitive testing, visit http://www.impacttest.com.