KUSA - The Department of Defense and the NCAA have teamed up with two Colorado researchers to help study concussion reporting.
Doug Coatsworth, a professor at Colorado State University and Alissa Wicklund, a neuropsychologist at the Orthopedic and Spine Center in Fort Collins, have received $400,000 grant for a three-year study.
The duo is one of eight research teams to receive the grant as part of the NCAA-DoD Mind Matters Challenge.
“We believe you can change the culture of concussion non-reporting,” Coatsworth said.
The pair’s plan is to study the interactions of middle and high school athletes to determine how their environment affects the way they report concussion symptoms.
“We’re trying to understand what the culture is. How do parents affect the culture? How coaches and teammates influence the culture,” Coatsworth said.
Both researchers agree that one of the largest problems in sports is the reluctance of athletes to report concussion-type symptoms, which often times can lead to additional and more severe injuries down the road.
“We have many clinical tools to examine and treat athletes,” Wicklund said. “What we need is a way to understand within the culture so we can get them to that point.”
Coatsworth says the irony of the study is that its success may mean more concussions will be reported throughout all of sports. However he says he finds satisfaction knowing that it means those athletes will receive help they need.
“This is a treatable problem, a treatable injury we want to make sure that athletes who need treatment get treatment,” he said.
Coatsworth says the U.S. military hopes to use the research to help active duty members report their injuries more openly.
(© 2016 KUSA)