On February 7th an agreement between a neurocognitive testing company and US Youth Soccer was made. Not only was this a partnership for the use of the tool, but it also provides some of the best, in my opinion; concussion education, awareness and management tools out there.
Soccer has been a rather underrepresented sport when it comes to the concussion issue, perhaps because it does not garner the spotlight in today’s sports media, like that of football. However, soccer has its fair share of brain injuries, one reason is the use of the head in the sport is encouraged. Because of this it exposes players to more risk, even if heading the ball is controlled, what happens in the air leading to that can be more apropos to creating the sudden traumatic event causing a concussion.
Below is the full press release;
US Youth Soccer and Axon Sports bring Affordable Concussion Management to Leagues, Teams, and Clubs
Web-based tool helps medical providers manage concussions; facilitate the safe return of players to the field
FRISCO, Texas (February 7, 2012) – US Youth Soccer, the nation’s largest youth sports organization, today announces Axon Sports as a long-term strategic partner for computerized baseline testing for concussion management, leading the way in making soccer safer for kids at the grassroots level. Through the relationship, US Youth Soccer will provide member discounts and educational resources on USYouthSoccer.org. It will also provide more than 25,000 US Youth Soccer players free access to the Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT).
The Axon Sports CCAT features a brief, online cognitive test that provides a “before” snapshot of a player’s healthy brain activities including attention, processing speed, working memory, and learning for comparison to future results in the event of a head injury. Test results help qualified medical providers manage return-to-play decisions, reducing a player’s risk of additional concussions before recovering from initial injuries.
The International Consensus on Concussion in Sport recognized cognitive baseline testing as a cornerstone in an effective concussion management program. Once reserved primarily for professional and collegiate athletes, now youth sports leagues, teams and clubs have access to an affordable, convenient tool to help manage concussions in players as young as age 10.
“We are excited to work together with US Youth Soccer to broaden access to affordable baseline testing,” Axon Sports President and CEO Polly James said. “We know educating coaches and parents on the role of baseline testing will lead to more awareness around the crucial health issue of concussions. It allows more players to complete baseline tests and ultimately assists the healthcare providers who treat players with head injuries.”
Team administrators, coaches and parents, realizing concussions are a serious health concern in youth sports, are looking for solutions to help safeguard the future of their players. Most states have passed laws mandating concussion education for coaches; some include educational requirements for parents and players.
US Youth Soccer President John Sutter said, “Supporting the game we all love is a priority for US Youth Soccer, our 55 US Youth Soccer State Associations, and our local member clubs and associations across the country. Supporting the game also means helping to keep our players safe. Recommending and providing access to baseline testing reflects our commitment to player safety and vetting solutions for our members.”
US Youth Soccer has been at the forefront of concussion education and in the creation of policies to address potential concussions that may occur through participation. US Youth Soccer and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have teamed up to help protect participants of all youth sports who may be at risk of concussion. The campaign, is an expansion of the “Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports,” and assists in getting concussion information into the hands of coaches, parents, and school and healthcare professionals who are on the front-line to help identify and respond appropriately to concussions among young players. Just last year, new policy provisions were implemented for US Youth Soccer events, which created the highest standards for re-entry into a competition following a possible concussion. Players diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms are required to sit out and must receive a formal release to return-to-play from a licensed medical doctor specializing in concussion treatment and management.
The Axon Sports online tool is more sensitive to cognitive impairment after a concussion than a player’s self-reported symptoms. It tracks brain speed and accuracy in comparison to a player’s own preseason baseline. The tasks that make up the Axon Sports CCAT were designed with young athletes in mind. They’re fast-paced, play to their competitive spirit, and don’t require studying. If suspected of a concussion, a qualified medical provider will use one or more repeated tests with the player to help make decisions about that player’s return to the classroom, practice and competitive play. The tool easily integrates into an association, club, league or team’s protocols. Plus, Axon Sports has an online toolkit, Ahead of the Game, ready to help get youth organizations started.
The partnership with Axon Sports positions US Youth Soccer as a role model for other youth sports organizations–providing solutions and answers that are affordable, convenient and easy to implement. To learn more visit axonsports.com/usyouthsoccer
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About Axon Sports
Axon Sports, a subsidiary of CogState, provides the Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT) as well as educational resources on a wide range of topics surrounding its proper use within an overall concussion management program. Together with players, parents, coaches, athletic trainers and doctors, Axon Sports is on a mission to protect and train the athletic brain. To learn more or preview a sample test, visit axonsports.com/demotest.
About the United States Youth Soccer Association (US Youth Soccer) – US Youth Soccer – “The Game for ALL Kids!®” is the largest youth sports organization in the country and largest member of the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body of soccer in the United States. US Youth Soccer registers more than 3 million players annually, ages 5 to 19, and over 900,000 administrators, coaches and volunteers in 55 member State Associations. US Youth Soccer programs provide a fun, safe and healthy environment for players at every level of the game. For more information, visit www.USYouthSoccer.org.