Data collection forms an important feature of any type of research study. It helps evaluate outcomes , test hypotheses , and help interpret results.
Data collection can be done in many ways; through interviews , questionnaires, or mere observations ie textual or visual.
What we need today in the midst of a concussion crisis, is more data being collected of even the most benign injuries amongst young athletes in order to drive to conclusions which in return will help us safeguard their mental health.
Texas, one of the biggest states in our country has decided to take the lead on this.
One of the largest highschools in Texas will be reporting all sports related concussions to a central database as a headway to track brain injuries in the young athletic population.
In my opinion, this will most definitely help fill a major loophole in concussion research.
This project is a partnership between two big organizations: the UT southwestern and the University Interscholastic League (UIL).
This data collected could help infer many things related to equipment, gender, certain drills to name a few.
Is a particular hemet more safer than the other?
Dr. Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist overseeing this database at UT southwestern believes that something of this magnitude has never been done before.
This project in Texas, leads the U.S. with more than 800,000 students participating in sports.
Though UIL has made it mandatory for certain schools, others continue to have the liberty to participate on a voluntary basis.
The Executive Director of the UIL Medical Advisory Committee, Mr. Charles Breithaupt believes the safety of these kids is of prime importance and hence putting policies and rules in place and diving deeper into research related to this issue will most definitely help minimize the risk.
Previously, the UIL has also made efforts to reduce contact hours during practice to a minimum of 90 minutes per week.
Will this become a NATIONAL DATABASE in the future?
Dr. Cullum believes that the framework currently being used in Texas would most definitely be used in any or every other state.The key point is that athletic trainers, coaches and other medical personnel should be on board about reporting these concussions to the central database.
At present, there is no national system in place to collect data from schools, thus limiting the scope of this particular type of research.
Besides Texas, Hawaii launched its own registry in 2010, however the data was limited both in number and accuracy. Other states with registries include Michigan and Connecticut to name a few.
SO HOW IS THIS DATE BEING COLLECTED?
It is pretty straightforward.
It happens through a registry and the one currently being used in Contex, a registry that tracks detailed information about concussions through a database that was collected on an online site.
The information being tracked is:
- Cause of the injury
- Concussion history
It may however not be limited to just these.
If done on a wider scale, there will definitely be a day when these sports are going to be much safer for the kids.