Under the direction of a leader in the sport concussion world, Kevin Guskiewitz, the University of North Carolina (Tar Heels) have put together a model for dealing with concussions that the NCAA is now recommending as the suggested protocol.
While the NFL has been out in the media promoting this issue and seeing players in the popular league on a weekly basis get hurt, the news is there. But quietly and effectively the NCAA is also tackling this problem head on (pun intended). Committees have been working on getting a solid concussion model in place as soon as possible. Which with 500+ schools under their blanket can be tough.
There are a lot of egos and “what about our ideas” out there, that slows the process. All of that should be put aside and decisions made to protect the student athlete. Cost of course is an issue, where the big schools can absorb this, the smaller ones may have an issue.
An example of cost is the accelerometers that are in helmets, and the software needed for it. At UNC they are using the data collection from these to create a composite “picture” of the head injury sustained. The NCAA does like the use of them and now they are even being sold with helmets you can buy from Riddell. However, the cost associated with it may be prohibitive for smaller football schools.
But what does not cost is education. Using time and education to inform all involved will help in the long run with concussions. Explaining the long-term effects we are just finding out about, coupled with the disruption in the injured persons life can be extremely enlightening.
It seems that the UNC model includes both of these approaches.
The NCAA should make sure they consider all factors, but do it in a swift manner, so that a process is in place. Eventually some form of it will trickle down to the “younger” levels of the sport.