Cooperative Forms to Address Sports Concussions
The group, which includes protective equipment manufacturer Rawlings Sporting Goods, will coordinate concussion research and testing.
Four organizations announced the formation of the National Sports Concussion Cooperative, saying they will collaborate on concussion research and testing. The four are the American Football Coaches Association, the Matthew Gfeller Foundation, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, and Rawlings Sporting Goods Company.
"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 Dr. Jason Mihalik, Ph.D., CAT(C), ATC, of the university. "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."
Their announcement said the cooperative wants to include other representative disciplines and the medical and clinical care communities that share its commitment to improving the safety of contact sports, specifically football. "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 Grant Teaff, president of AFCA. "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."
The cooperative's founding organizational meeting will take place May 2 in Chapel Hill as its agenda takes shape. "Rawlings is committed to helping find solutions that may reduce the risk of concussions," said Robert Parish, Rawlings' president and CEO. "We are confident the odds of arriving at that solution are better if multiple disciplines come together to share best thinking and practices."
The Matthew Gfeller Foundation help parents prevent, recognize, and treat youth sports head injuries. AFCA, which was founded in 1922, has members ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks.