A Q&A With Dr. Julie Gilchrist of CDC Injury Center

Dr. Julie Gilchrist works at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center. Below she answers a few questions on the CDC’s Heads Up campaign and how the CDC is working to help keep young athletes safe from concussion and other serious brain injuries.

How are the CDC and NFL working together on addressing concussion among young athletes?

Over the last 6 years, CDC and the NFL have worked together to help get concussion educational materials into the hands of coaches, parents, kids and teens, and school and health care professionals nationwide. Two examples of this work include:

  • CDC worked with the NFL, NFLPA and 16 sports governing bodies to develop the “Concussion:  A Must Read for Young Athletes” fact sheet and poster for young athletes. To date, more than 1 million copies of these materials have been distributed.
  • Through a grant from the NFL to the CDC Foundation, CDC launched the “Heads Up to Clinicians” online training for health care professionals, created to help improve concussion diagnosis and management for young athletes.

What is the CDC’s Heads Up campaign?

Heads Up is a group of educational initiatives, developed by the CDC, which share a common goal: to help protect children and teens from concussions and other serious brain injuries both on and off the sports field. This year marks the 10th anniversary of CDC’s Heads Up.

What materials are available from CDC’s Heads Up campaign?

We tailor our materials based on our audience. We offer information for:

  • Coaches: Online training for high school and youth sports coaches on concussion, as well as fact sheets and posters coaches can download for their team. The online training is used by states, schools, and sports organizations, including USA Football and the National PTA, to help spread concussion information out throughout the country.
  • Parents: CDC Foundation’s “Heads Up to Parents” website and app that includes concussion and helmet safety information: www.cdcfoundation.org/HeadsUp.
  • School Professionals: Fact sheets, posters, and other tools school professionals can use, including information on helping students return to school after a concussion.
  • Health Care Professionals: Latest information on concussion diagnosis and management to help kids and teens recover quickly and fully.

All of CDC’s Heads Up materials are free and can be found online at www.cdc.gov/Concussion.

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