Former Bay Area NFL Stars Educate Young Athletes About Concussions

Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Steve Young and two-time Super Bowl champion Jim Plunkett have teamed up with TeachAids, a health education technology organization established by subject-matter experts from Stanford University, to raise awareness about the risks of untreated head injuries and to change public perception surrounding concussions.

Photo: TeachAids

Photo: TeachAids

In September 2018, the organization launched a research-based interactive health education platform called CrashCourse to educate young athletes about prevention and treatment for concussions. Developed by educators, medical researchers and doctors, CrashCourse features Stanford football players as well as the three former Bay Area NFL stars as they offer the latest medical knowledge regarding signs and symptoms of concussion.   

The intention of the short films is for these admired athletes to inspire conversations and actions to reduce the stigma of concussion and to modify inaccurate misconceptions. The course also includes virtual reality modules where young athletes can interactively view a human brain and learn to identify the signs of concussion.

Concussion in youth sports remains a primary concern among parents. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 20 million young athletes will experience a concussion over the next 10 years. In response, TeachAids created the digital education platform to provide up-to-date information for parents, coaches, athletic trainers and educators.

"It's not just in football, but across all sports," states Dr. Gerald Grant, professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University School of Medicine. "When these kids and parents come to our clinics they are starving for information. The power of CrashCourse is that it speaks to students in their own language. We hope it makes a huge impact around the world."

CrashCourse isn't the only innovative technology designed to solve health problems and improve quality of life for athletes. Stanford's athletic program also partners with SyncThink, a digital platform that assesses brain injuries through eye-tracking technology.

As researchers continue to study the long-term impacts of concussion, the NFL is facing added pressure to protect players better and enhance the league’s concussion protocol. Because of the work of dedicated researchers and organizations like TeachAids, in addition to the support of professional football players like Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Jim Plunkett, fewer young athletes will now have to go through life suffering with the debilitating effects of their injuries.