STATE: League to study brains, track concussions

The University Interscholastic League, the sanctioning body for Texas high school athletics, has begun a registry designed to track brain injuries.
University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute along with the UIL will monitor concussions across the state at UIL-member school student-athletes.
The data will contribute to concussion research, and it’s expected to provide a gauge for whether certain rules or equipment changes are improving player safety.
And that’s not just in football, but across a broad spectrum of sports.
“This is a groundbreaking initial step,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, professor of psychiatry, neurology and neurosurgery with the O’Donnell Brain Institute.
The ConTex registry will be used by all UIL member schools, which will include concussion cases reported by middle school and high school athletic trainers and other school personnel in all UIL-sanctioned athletic activities.
“The health and safety of our student participants is at the forefront of everything we do,” said UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt.
The UIL Medical Advisory Committee has been examining concussions since the group’s inception 15 years ago.
Breithaupt said the registry will provide valuable information in the study of concussions. The medical advisory committee recommended an injury data collection program to be used as a tool to improve player safety.
Dr. Cullum has been at the forefront of other concussion studies, and he published one last year finding National Football League players who lost consciousness due to concussions showed differences in brain structure later in life. Read more in the Dec. 31 Bowie News.

University Interscholastic League. (Logo provided by the UIL, used with permission)