Monthly Archives: April 2015

NFL, USA Football and Their Latest Attempt at Raising Concussion Awareness

(Editor’s Note: What follows is the press release from the NFL and others.)

NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 today announced the expansion of their commitment to youth health and wellness by giving NFL FLAG Essentials Kits to one million students across 2,500 schools nationwide, including 10 focus cities: Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Jacksonville, Miami, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Francisco.  The expansion is made possible by a $1 million commitment from NFL Foundation.

The announcement was made by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, CEO of GENYOUth Alexis Glick and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the 2015 NFL Draft Youth Football Clinic in Chicago’s Grant Park.

During 2014 Kickoff, NFL, USA Football, GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 announced a commitment to providing children in elementary schools and after-school programs nationwide with NFL FLAG Essentials Kits enabling kids and communities to “Play 60.”  The kits which include footballs, flag belts, posters and a PE curriculum designed for elementary and middle school students, garnered enthusiasm, reaching 1,800 schools nationwide, resulting in 500,000 kids getting more active, and the demand for NFL FLAG powered by USA Football to be played before, during and after school.

The goal of the partnership between the NFL and Fuel Up to Play 60 is to give children more opportunities to be physically active and to “Play 60” by offering PE teachers and school administrators the equipment, curriculum, training and recognition they need to uplift and support physical education.  This extension of the program provides a million more students across the country with the tools to play NFL FLAG, which combines the strategy of football with the lessons of teamwork, resiliency and respect.

“We want all kids to have the chance to get active and flag football is a fun way to play 60 and learn the fundamentals of football,” said Commissioner Goodell. “We know many children are physically inactive and the critical need in schools and communities for equipment and ways to increase participation in physical education. We want to make this a positive experience by offering NFL FLAG Kits to inspire kids to play football and be active today and in years to come.”

Results from the program’s first year include:

  • 98% of teachers reporting using the Kits in PE class for more than one semester
  • 47% using Kits after school
  • 28% using Kits during recess
  • 21% using Kits weekend activity and/or sporting activities
  • 12% using Kits before school, leading to an increased number of physically activity kids

NFL FLAG provides children of all ages with the opportunity to be active and learn the basics of football in a fun environment. With the tremendous reach of Fuel Up to Play 60, the nation’s largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program, an additional 1,000,000 children in more than 2,500 schools will be able to participate in the coming 2015-16 school year via the new Kits.  The program will culminate with the NFL FLAG National Championships at Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco.

“GENYOUth is proud to support this partnership by bringing this fresh and exciting sport to schools nationwide through our flagship program, Fuel Up to Play 60,” said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. “Flag football is a fun, fast-paced, skills-based and strategy-driven game that inspires more kids to get active. It allows physical education teachers and communities to introduce a new curriculum that has already inspired more physical activity among both boys and girls during and outside of the school day.”

Schools can apply for the Kits starting in early May via the Fuel Up to Play 60 website: and will be provided at the beginning of the 2015-16 school year while supplies last.  Additionally, in-person FLAG trainings using the curriculum developed by USA Football and SHAPE America will be held in the 10 NFL markets this fall.

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No Surprise Here, Study Says Women Slower to Recover from Concussions

A new study, conducted by scientists at Taipei Medical University Shuang-Ho Hospital in New Taipei City, has revealed that women may have a tougher time recovering their memory than men after a concussion.

The study relied upon functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to study the brains of 30 men and 30 women.

Neuropsychologist Dave Ellemberg, an associate professor who studies brain injuries at the University of Montreal, told the media that “you cannot treat women like you treat men. But in the field of the management of brain injuries, everyone is managed the same. The data mainly comes from men, and the management programs are all based on evidence that comes from them.”

The study appears online April 28 issue in the journal Radiology.


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Photographer Wins Top Prize For Photo That Tells Story of Brother’s Concussion Struggles

With the goal of educating the public about the dangers of sports-related concussion and the debilitating migraine attacks that often result, Daniel Newman of Katonah, New York has won first place in Nikon Inc.’s “I Am Next” contest, with a dramatic photo of his brother Eric, who has experienced the after-effects of sports-related concussions. The competition sought the next voice of Nikon’s “I Am Generation Image” campaign, which aims to empower consumers to create stories that stand out through amazing images. Daniel’s entry rose to the top of more than 14,000 contest submissions.

“Migraine-like symptoms are some of the most disabling and persistent complications of concussion,” said David W. Dodick, MD, FRCP, chair of the American Migraine Foundation, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and an internationally renowned concussion expert. “We applaud Daniel for his creative and insightful work, and for his desire to raise awareness of concussion and migraine and the risks that head injuries pose, especially to the developing brains of young people. More must be done to protect young athletes from the devastating and potentially life-altering effects of concussions. Daniel’s work illustrates this quite dramatically. We hope the visibility given his winning photo stimulates a conversation and an understanding of the potential long-term effects of concussion and the strategies necessary to protect those involved in youth athletics.”

Daniel’s prize-winning photo shows a physician demonstrating a procedure used to treat Daniel’s brother, Eric, for his post-concussion symptoms. While other symptoms resolved themselves a year and a half after his concussion, following a hospital stay and intensive treatments, Eric’s head trauma left him with migraine headaches.

In an essay accompanying this dramatic image, Daniel states that: “The real issue is not my brother’s specific injury, but the culture within the sports world that minimizes the importance of concussions. If his previous concussions were taken more seriously and coaches did not push him to continue playing his symptoms would never have been so severe.”

Research shows that premature return-to-play decisions in high school and college sports can pose serious, even fatal neurological consequences. After a concussion, the risk of both early (within the first 10 days) and late repeated concussions increases significantly. Repeated concussions may increase the risk of long-term disabling and persistent symptoms as well as cognitive impairment.

“Disabling headache is the most common symptom of concussion, and in more than 20% of athletes, may persist for months or years,” says Dr. Dodick. “This may result in other symptoms such as sleep and memory disturbances as well as mood changes, and render the student athlete not only unable to return to play, but perhaps more important, limit his or her ability to return to learning and realizing his full potential.”

Although many are not so fortunate, following treatment Eric was able to continue on his career trajectory and is now in medical school.

To view Daniel’s award-winning photo and accompanying essay, go to:

The American Migraine Foundation recently redesigned its website,, to include a range of resources and educational materials for people with migraine and their families. Among the site’s features is a section on concussion in youth sports. New content is added regularly to the site.

“I hope this contest allows me the opportunity to educate the public about the disabling nature of concussions and migraine,” Daniel says.

The I Am Next Contest was created as part of Nikon’s “I Am Generation Image” campaign, which aims to amplify the voices of individuals through the images they capture, so that their stories can stand out. Daniel’s photo is a great example of a story that needs to be heard; he won first place after the field of 14,000+ entries was narrowed down to three finalists. The online community then voted on who should receive the top prize.

On his Twitter feed, Daniel posted: “Thanks to YOUR help, @NikonUSA has declared me the voice of Generation Image! My push to raise #concussionawareness is not over. Stay tuned!” Follow Daniel’s educational efforts on concussion at @DGN914.

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