Conference-Wide Collaboration

December 15, 2017

All colleges have taken measures to improve concussion testing, reporting, and prevention. The Pac-12 Conference is going one step further with the recent announcement of two new initiatives.

The first entails rolling out a Concussion Coordinating Unit (CCU). A news release from the University of Colorado explains that the CCU will collect longitudinal concussion data, allowing researchers to see years of brain health information from student-athletes across many sports. In turn, baseline procedures are expected to improve from this added knowledge and researchers will work to develop best practices for continuing education about traumatic brain injury. The unit will be based on the Colorado campus.

“[Colorado] and other Pac-12 member universities have taken several steps in recent years to improve the health and wellness of our student-athletes,” Rick George, Colorado’s Athletic Director, said. “I am pleased that [Colorado] will take the lead on coordinating the study of concussion impacts and prevention so that we can continue to look out for the best interests of student-athletes here and across the nation.”

The Pac-12 schools will work to phase the CCU in over the span of three years. Colorado will serve as the operations coordinating unit and handle administrative work for collecting and storing data, along with managing databases.

“This is a good example of how our faculty and Athletic Department come together to use cutting-edge research to positively impact humanity,” Philip DiStefano, PhD, Colorado Chancellor and member of the NCAA Board of Governors and Board of Directors, said. “As leaders of the NCAA and Pac-12, it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to study this important issue so that our student-athletes are healthy during their collegiate careers and beyond.”

According to an article from SportTechie.com, the second initiative involves a new equipment program that will distribute two SyncThink EYE-SYNC units to each Pac-12 school. These devices analyze eye movement to evaluate whether a head injury has occurred. The units give results in one minute. Researchers at Colorado will be able to access data from the EYE-SYNC devices.

“This is a momentous day for both the Pac-12 Conference and SyncThink,” Jamshid Ghajar, MD, PhD, FACS, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery, Director of the Stanford University Concussion and Brain Performance Center, President of the Brain Trauma Foundation, and Founder of SyncThink, said to SportTechie.com. “The Pac-12 has always been about excellence both on the field and off, including their commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions for their members. The EYE-SYNC platform is the latest example, representing the new frontier of brain health and performance.”

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