The Centennial Conference announced today that it will be the first Conference in Division III to collect data on the incidents of concussions in the sports of football, soccer and lacrosse. The announcement was made at the Conference's annual football Kickoff event.
It is hoped that the Conference can use the data to better assess injuries from a physical and behavioral standpoint, and improve athlete education and welfare. The Big Ten Conference and the Ivy League have also done studies at the Division I level, but this is the inaugural effort by a Division III conference.
Matt Keller, the Director of Sports Medicine at Franklin & Marshall College, spoke to the assembled group and announced that 13 institutions - Bryn Mawr, Dickinson, F&M, Gettysburg, Haverford, Johns Hopkins, Juniata, McDaniel, Moravian, Muhlenberg, Susquehanna, Swarthmore, Ursinus and Washington College - would collect data from the 2009 season through the 2014 pre-season. In 2009, some of the schools in Conference started using Electronic Medical Record keeping which will make the recovery of this data much easier.
Some of the information that the Conference is looking to collect includes whether the concussion occurred in pre-season vs. regular season vs. the non-traditional segment. Was it during practice vs a competition? How many days after the concussion until the athlete was symptom free and the position that the player was playing on the field at the time the concussion was sustained (was it a QB, RB, etc)?
It is also hoped that the data collection will show the mechanism involved in the injury (i.e. did a player collide with the ground or with a player; during a live contact session or another part of practice). There will be potential for this data to be used to make Conference-wide policy changes based upon the conclusions we hope to draw from the data.
"The Centennial Conference Presidents Council is very supportive of this study," said Centennial Executive Director Steve Ulrich. ""The presidents wanted the Centennial to take an active leadership role in developing steps and measures to limit concussions, first in football and then in other sports as appropriate."