By Alex Tsai
The concussion awareness initiative CrashCourse announced on Tuesday its partnership with American Youth Football & Cheer, a sports organization providing young athletes opportunities to participate in flag football, tackle football and cheer nationwide.
CrashCourse, the first research-based, virtual reality concussion education program in the world, aims to promote dialogue about head injuries and to encourage early reporting of concussion symptoms among youth football players. American Youth Football & Cheer will promote CrashCourse to the one million youth members, coaches and parents participating in the organization.
CrashCourse was developed by TeachAids, a nonprofit collaboration with Stanford specializing in health education innovation.
The aim of CrashCourse is to more effectively engage a young audience through interactive videos featuring high-profile college athletes. According to TeachAids founder and CEO of Dr. Piya Sorcar, research revealed that kids wanted to hear from relatable near-peers. The interactive curriculum features Stanford football players Bryce Love ’19, Alameen Murphy ’19, JJ Arcega-Whiteside ’19, Brandon Simmons ’19 and Trenton Irwin ’19 who guide kids through the educational content.
TeachAids has already established partnerships with the Pop Warner youth football league and the state of Arkansas to promote its concussion awareness initiative. According to Dick Gould, Vice Chairman of the Board of TeachAids, Pop Warner and American Youth Football & Cheer are the two most prominent youth football organizations in the nation.
“We’re very excited about the opportunity to work with American Youth Football,” Gould told The Daily. “It’s a tremendous organization, it’s got a great reputation and we feel honored to be selected as one of their partners in an effort to promote the safety of young athletes.”
The process of partnering with the each organization involved seeking approval from the organization’s medical advisory board and board of directors, Gould said.
He added that formal partnerships with youth football organizations show a strong commitment to increasing the safety of youth football players nationwide.
“We believe proper training enriches the experience for players, competitors, and spectators alike,” wrote Joe Galat, president and founder of American Youth Football & Cheer, in the organization’s press release. “Given what we know about concussions today, the younger we teach these athletes, the better.”
Gould said that TeachAids will continue to refine and update the CrashCourse curriculum with new features, including a virtual reality symptom simulator to help players recognize the signs of head injury and a computer-animated 3D representation of an actual brain. Gould also added that TeachAids hopes to expand its education program to provide resources for parents and coaches, not just young athletes.
“We’re really excited about our partnerships with prominent youth football programs around the country in a joint commitment to promote the safety of young athletes nationwide,” Sorcar said.