Dignity Health’s Barrow Neurological Institute and the Dignity Health Foundation announce plans to expand the Dignity Health Concussion Network—a concussion education and prevention program focusing on student athletes.

The Dignity Health Concussion Network debuted in January in California with support from the San Francisco 49ers, the California Interscholastic Federation, and computerized concussion management tool manufacturer ImPACT, per a media release from Dignity Health.

Once the new school year starts, more than 1,400 students from five pilot schools in California’s Bay Area will be participating in four Concussion Network modules, including comprehensive concussion education, an assessment, and pre- and post-ImPACT concussion testing.

In addition, more than 20 other Bay Area high schools will begin using the Barrow Brainbook, an interactive web and app-based educational component of the Dignity Health Concussion Network that leads students through a series of educational activities and videos about concussion.

The full Concussion Network program piloted by students in the five Bay Area high schools, in addition to the Barrow Brainbook module, will also incorporate a formal exam, which students will need to pass before beginning a sport, as well as ImPACT cognitive testing.

It is hoped that by mid-2017, the program will expand to 200,000 Bay Area students, according to the release.

“This program is necessary to help correct major misunderstandings that most of the population has about concussions,” says Dr Jávier Cardenas, director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, headquartered in Phoenix, in the release.

“For example, many people believe that a head injury is only a concussion if there is a loss of consciousness, but 90% of concussions do not present with that symptom at all. This program empowers athletic directors and coaches to take an injured player out of the game and gives athletes the tools to speak up when something doesn’t feel quite right,” he adds.

“Sometimes student athletes return to play too soon after a head injury,” states Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers, per the release. “We are proud to help bring this important program to our area so that young athletes, their families, and their coaches are better educated on the importance of managing such injuries with the appropriate level of care. Through proper preventative measures and injury treatment our youth can enjoy healthy careers in sports for as long as they desire.”

[Source(s): Dignity Health, Business Wire]