Texas Plans Extensive Study on Brain Injuries in High School Athletes

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Texas is beginning what state officials say is the nation’s largest effort to track brain injuries among young athletes.

Starting this week, two dozen high school sports will be tracked in an attempt to gauge whether rules or equipment changes improve player safety and what more can be done to protect athletes. Information to be recorded includes the cause of an injury and the recovery time from an injury.

The project is a partnership between the University Interscholastic League, Texas’ governing body for public high school sports, and the O’Donnell Brain Institute at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Texas has more than 800,000 public high school athletes, and the study will be a key step in developing a national database of brain injuries in youths, officials say.

“Until we understand what the frequency of concussions is across the state, or a region of the state, we can’t determine when rule changes, equipment changes or things like recovery programs are really being effective,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and neurotherapeutics who will lead the study.

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