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New Records Show 2,500+ Sports Concussions at DFW Schools

An NBC 5 investigation took a close look at just how many student athletes have suffered concussions in North Texas, and the numbers were staggering.

Though the NFL tracks concussions in an effort to prevent them from occurring in the future, The University Interscholastic League (UIL), the organization that oversees extracurricular athletic activities in the Texas public schools, does not closely track concussions at all schools, or for all sports.

NBC 5 Investigates found that the UIL’s method of tracking concussions in high school sports is very limited: it only collects concussion data from a sample of high school football teams throughout the state.

For example, in 2014, the UIL reported 295 football concussions from the 263 schools that were sampled, but NBC Investigates found that there were more concussions reported by high school football players in the DFW Metroplex than the UIL’s state sample reported.

Over the summer, NBC 5 Investigates evaluated concussion records, broken down by sport from 41 DFW school districts, which revealed how often concussions are actually happening in boys’ and girls’ sports.

NBC 5 Investigates found that there were over 2,500 concussions in one school year in all middle and high schools in those 41 North Texas districts evaluated.

The concussions reported across area districts were:

  • Boys’ high school soccer – 223 concussions
  • Boys’ high school basketball – 145 concussions
  • Girls’ high school soccer – 183 concussions
  • Girls’ softball – 121 concussions
  • Cheerleading – 62 concussions

When UIL’s Assistant Director Jamey Harrison was asked if he was concerned that the state’s sample didn’t show the full picture of the severity of the problem, he said that the UIL is worried that they need to do more data collection. Adding that that doesn’t mean that they’ve found a solution yet.

One student, S. Cruz was sidelined from playing soccer after she was hit in the head twice in one week. Cruz said that afterward, she had persistent, unrelenting headaches that were present when she went to sleep and woke up in the morning.

K. Locker, with Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine in Fort Worth said that it’s a “brain injury.” He said that it’s not a bell ringer or a concussion, it’s a traumatic brain injury – that’s why it’s serious.

Dr. Hunt Batjer, co-chair of the NFL’s head, neck and spine committed said that he would like to help the UIL collect data from all school sports for boys and girls, adding that collecting data from all teams could help the league make changes that could protect the players better.

As of right now, the UIL does not collect data from all schools or all sports.

NBC 5 Investigates found that some states do collect more statewide data, for example, in Massachusetts, all schools are required to report concussion data for all sports to the state health department.

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