Concussion Research at VT Changing Football - WSET.com - ABC13

Concussion Research at VT Changing Football

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Blacksburg, VA - Researchers presenting data to sports professionals from around Virginia say their research is changing the game of football from the Pee Wee level to the pro ranks.

The presentation is part of a "Concussion Summit" spearheaded by Salem Parks and Recreation and Virginia Tech.

Over the past decade, a research team led by Virginia Tech's Dr. Stefan Duma has recorded more than 2 million game time impacts from football players playing at levels through the collegiate level.

The information they are producing is changing the way the game is played and they want to teach others why.

"I'm really proud of it. It's hard to understand that it took ten years to get here but once we had the science and once we had the data and published the papers... it's great that society was able to embrace it and make the changes so quickly," said Duma.

The researchers know this because they have seen popular models of football helmets fade from existence as their research has lead to ultra safe lines competing for top performance.

They are also seeing leagues, like Pop Warner, using the research, and generated advice to rewrite the rules in an effort to keep the kids safer.

In particular, the amount of time athletes spend learning skills off the field versus physically employing them on the field.

Using this information, seminar attendee Mark Moore, who is the director of Parks and Rec for Pittsylvania County, already plans on providing education cards to teams that will help coaches recognize concussions on the field.

After Tuesday's lesson, he has even bigger plans.

"Updating bylaws for our leagues to reflect those things (like) mandatory sitting out periods for kids, so this is definitely going to impact sports in Pittsylvania County," said Moore.

"The most important are the rules and the coaches. So you have to have the right rules and enforcement; you have to have the coaches calling the right plays and practices and then the third layer is the helmet," said Duma.

Presenters at this conference say that these changes must be made; that coaches need to relearn how they do business to drop the damage being done on the field.

It is so important, that one presenter said that if the changes aren't made, the concussion issues in football will inevitably destroy the sport.

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