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Stanford concussion education announces partnership with USA Wrestling

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TeachAids, an educational nonprofit founded in collaboration with research by Stanford medical, design, and engineering experts, plans to distribute its interactive concussion education module, CrashCourse, on USA Wrestling’s website starting September 2020. Through this partnership with USA Wrestling, TeachAids will be able to spread CrashCourse to thousands across the nation. 

While TeachAids was founded in 2009 to spread education around the globe about HIV and AIDS — topics that are often considered too “taboo” to acknowledge they also started working on concussion education more than 4 years ago, and eventually launched their first CrashCourse educational module in 2018.

CrashCourse will teach its users about the prevention and treatment of concussions using interactive HD and VR videos. These virtual courses can be taken from the comfort of one’s home, making them more accessible than a series of in person classes.

This isn’t the first time that CrashCourse has been used by a national organization. In February, TeachAids partnered with USA Football to distribute the CrashCourse module to parents, coaches and athletes, teaching thousands across the U.S. about concussions. The TeachAids program comes in response to a lack of concussion education among amateur and professional athletes alike. 

“When I was concussed in 2018, I wish I had known more about head injuries,” said Olympic Gold Medalist wrestler Helen Maroulis in a press release. “Since then, I’ve learned that every concussion is different. It doesn’t take a huge hit to the head to experience symptoms.”

The CrashCourse module will help eliminate such misconceptions. TeachAids Vice Chairman Dick Gould says that while “coaches across the nation are all supposed to receive concussion education, there’s no set plan as to what exactly they should learn or how they should learn it.”

“CrashCourse can be completed by those with years of experience in the athletic field and those who are new to sports alike,” he said. “Concussions are so much more common than people often believe, and CrashCourse’s user interface really emphasizes the severity of concussions and how important it is to understand what’s going on.” 

USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender stated his enthusiasm about working with TeachAids. 

“This partnership will not only provide a valuable resource for our coaches and officials, but it is also another critical step towards ensuring the safety of our athletes at all levels, both in practice and in competition,” Bender said.

USA Wrestling Manager of Coaches Education Mike Clayton has also expressed the importance of this partnership. He considers featuring the CrashCourse module on USA Wrestling’s website a “no-brainer,” saying it was clear that “this was the direction [USA Wrestling] needed to go in.” He explains that what experts know about concussions has changed drastically over the past few years.

“It used to be that when you’d get a concussion, you’d be recommended to stay in a dark room, not to read, not to be around light — you’d generally be excluded from everything,” Clayton said. “And now we’re realizing that like other parts of the body, we have to exercise the brain. That’s what’s great about TeachAids: it’s going to help communicate [to users] how to take care of oneself when they have a concussion.”

The partnership between TeachAids and USA Wrestling comes as part of an expansion of TeachAids resources. In just a few days, TeachAids will launch CrashCourse in tandem with the US Olympics’ and Paralympics’ Governing Bodies. The first segment of this module, the Brain Fly Through — scheduled to launch on July 14th — will explore the complexities and fragilities of the human brain in HD and VR. This module, led by world mountain biking champion Katie Courtney, will emphasize the importance of quickly reporting head injuries. 

Contact Natasha Lal at natashalal21 ‘at’ mittymonarch.com. 

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Natasha Lal is a high schooler writing as part of The Daily’s Summer Journalism Workshop.