The launch of the ConTex registry in Texas marks what is reportedly the largest statewide effort in the nation to track concussion prevalence among high school-age athletes.

It is hoped that the registry, which is a partnership between the University Interscholastic League (IUL) and the UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr Brain Institute, will provide a gauge as to whether certain rules or equipment changes are helping to improve player safety, according to a media release from UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“This is a groundbreaking initial step. I think we’re on the verge of a very impactful project that will inform the nation about the frequency of concussions and will provide basic information about concussion and recovery in student-athletes,” says principal investigator Dr Munro Cullum, professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Neurological Surgery with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center, in the release.

This registry will complement similar ones in other age groups, such as those performed by the NCAA, NHL, NFL, and other professional organizations to track concussions among college and professional athletes.

However, the release suggests that reportedly, little has been done to evaluate concussions among youth athletes. Therefore, it is hoped that the ConTex registry can provide a blueprint for other states to follow in their concussion tracking efforts, and be a key step in creating a nationwide database for concussion tracking.

“A lot of states will follow suit if they’re not already working on this very topic,” adds Cullum, a neuropsychologist who holds the Pam Blumenthal Distinguished Professorship in Clinical Psychology. “I do think our registry will develop a very strong groundwork for a national registry.”

UIL-member schools will participate in the registry on a voluntary basis throughout the school year. To gather the information, athletic trainers and school personnel across Texas will report all concussions that occur in UIL athletics to a central database through an app or online site developed by Medical Innovation Labs in Austin, Tex. The gathered information will include the cause of the injury, concussion history, the player’s gender, and other data.

Collum and his team will then measure how often concussions occur in each sport, identify areas with low rates, and with more data eventually examine whether certain practices are helping reduce concussions or shorten recovery times in those areas, per the release.

The researchers hope that the statistics gathered will help provide insight into the prevalence of concussions in student-athletes and benefit other clinical and research efforts at the O’Donnell Brain Institute. These efforts include studies involving current and former NFL players, education outreach in schools, and a sports concussion return-to-play clinic that promotes medically monitored exercise during recovery, the release concludes.

[Source(s): UT Southwestern Medical Center, Newswise]