ST. LOUIS, March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Four stakeholders committed to the quest of reducing the incidence of sports-related concussions announced today the formation of a cooperative to bring inter-disciplinary collaboration to concussion research and testing.
The announcement of the National Sports Concussion Cooperative (NSCC) was made by the group's four founding entities: the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), 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.
The four stakeholders are taking the initiative to form the multi-disciplinary National Sports Concussion Cooperative to answer the industry's call to collaboratively address the sports-related concussion injuries in America.
"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, PhD, CAT(C), ATC, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "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."
The National Sports Concussion Cooperative will be committed to helping protect athletes from concussions while charting a well-defined course to help reduce concussions in sports. The group aims to accomplish these goals by welcoming qualified thought-leaders – their research and ideas – from across all of the disciplines that are currently working independently on how to reduce the risk of concussions for athletes.
To that end, the National Sports Concussion Cooperative will be working in the months ahead to incorporate into the group other organizations from the representative disciplines – plus the medical and clinical care communities – that share the cooperative's 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, executive director of the 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 National Sports Concussion Cooperative will hold its founding organizational meeting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina on May 2, 2011, to develop an agenda by which it will identify the most pressing concussion objectives in sports and set a course for assessing their significance through research and peer review. After the meeting, additional partners will be engaged to consider joining the collaborative effort and finalize the objectives for each stakeholder group.
"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 founding meeting of the National Sports Concussion Cooperative will take place in conjunction with the Inaugural Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Neurotrauma Symposium to be held in Kenan Football Complex at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on April 29-30. In addition to holding their internal meeting, representatives of the cooperative are scheduled to participate in the public portion of the symposium as well.
The mission of the Matthew Gfeller Foundation is to help parents prevent, recognize and treat youth sports head injuries. Established by Bob and Lisa Gfeller after their son, Matthew, died of a football-based traumatic brain injury in August 2008, the foundation supports the role athletics can play in the lives of children, but believes that head injuries can be minimized through better equipment, training, diagnosis and early treatment.
"The Matthew Gfeller Foundation is working hard for the benefit of players and parents to help make youth sports safer," said Bob Gfeller, the father of Matthew and spokesperson for the Matthew Gfeller Foundation. "Awareness, prevention and treatment are all avenues we are supporting for the 'Play it Safe' concept. We are excited to be part of the National Sports Concussion Cooperative because we know that a bigger impact to improve safety on the field can be made by bringing all key parties together."
About the American Football Coaches Association
The AFCA was founded in 1922 and currently has more than 11,000 members around the world ranging from the high school level to the professional ranks. According to its constitution, the AFCA was formed, in part, to "maintain the highest possible standards in football and in the coaching profession" and to "provide a forum for the discussion and study of all matters pertaining to football." For more information, please visit afca.com.
About the Mathew Gfeller Foundation
To help parents and coaches prevent, recognize and treat youth sports head injuries… we simply want kids to play it safe. For more information, please visit matthewgfellerfoundation.org.
About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center
The Matthew Gfeller Center is under the sponsorship of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Department of Exercise and Sport Science. Through our clinical and research initiatives, the Matthew Gfeller Center demonstrates its commitment to providing the highest level of care for athletes of all ages suffering from sport-related brain injuries, and to assist parents, coaches, and medical professionals in managing these student-athletes' injuries.
The Matthew Gfeller Center carries out its mission through a values-based clinical and research agenda. The program guides clinicians to better manage sport-related concussions and traumatic brain injury and apply the values of: Injury prevention, Education, Evaluation, Management, Rehabilitation, Collaboration, and Integrity & Responsibility.
The Matthew Gfeller Center is housed in a newly renovated 1,200 sq. ft. facility on the top floor of the Stallings-Evans Sports Medicine Center in the heart of UNC-Chapel Hill's campus. It is a state-of-the-art center of excellence for treating athletes suffering from sport-related concussion. This dedicated clinical research space offers state-of-the-art balance assessment, neuropsychological assessment, and other neurological evaluations. The close proximity to the main floor of the UNC Athletic Training Room in Stallings-Evans is ideal for treating collegiate athletes, as well as recreational and high school athletes from the surrounding communities. For more information, please visit tbicenter.unc.edu.
Rawlings is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of sporting goods. Since the company's inception in 1887, Rawlings' mission has always centered on developing and producing innovative, high-performance equipment and protective apparel for the professional player. With an assortment of baseball, basketball, football and softball game-related product lines, Rawlings is present everywhere team sports are played. Leagues and conferences of all skill levels integrate Rawlings' unparalleled product portfolio into their sports: as the Official Baseball and Official Helmet to Major League Baseball® and Minor League Baseball, the official baseball for the NCAA®, the official football for the NAIA®, the official basketball for the NAIA, NJCAA® and AAU®, the approved baseball, basketball, football and softball of the National High School Federation®. To learn more, please visit RawlingsFootball.com, Rawlings' Facebook page or by phone at (314) 819-2800.