Barrow Brainbook: Game plan for concussions

Three million sports concussions happen every year and most of them happen to high school athletes. Now, one state has launched an unprecedented effort to teach young athletes about the danger of concussions to help keep kids healthy and in the game.

16 -year-old quarterback Nate Calles learned about the danger of concussions the hard way. He recalls, "Right as I hit that guy I got this ring. It just went down my spine and up."

To try to reduce injuries like Calles’ and raise awareness, Arizona became the first state in the country to mandate concussion education and a formal test student athletes must take before play.

Barrow Neurological Institute developed an online teaching tool called Barrow Brainbook. Doctors, peers, and pros help kids understand concussions and the importance of reporting and treating them.

Neurologist Javier Cardenas says, "There are deaths that have resulted from multiple concussions in football and other sports so it's really important to get the message out and prevent these problems."

Signs of concussion may include headache or pressure in the head, loss of consciousness, confusion, dizziness, ringing ears, slurred speech or fatigue.

Dr. Cardenas explains, "Now that there's Brainbook, I think kids will start to understand, wow, I had a concussion, I need to see somebody right away."

Calles knows he is one of the lucky ones. Thanks to months of treatment and rehab, he's back in the game, hoping this never happens again.

In some states, coaches and trainers are educated about concussions, but not students. The medical professionals who created the Barrow Brainbook program hope that other states will follow Arizona’s lead and mandate education for their student athletes about the danger of concussions.


WHAT IS A CONCUSSION? A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow to the head or body, a fall, or any other injury that jars or shakes the brain inside of the skull. With concussions, there may not be any obvious signs of injury externally, but a person may have still sustained a brain injury. A person does not have to pass out in order to have a concussion and some people do not have obvious symptoms of a concussion; such as forgetting what happened right before the injury. Most people fully recover from concussions with recovery times averaging from a few hours to a few weeks. (SOURCE:
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? There are many signs that can indicate a concussion has happened but it is not always easy to tell if someone has had a concussion. Some symptoms are mild and some may last for months. Symptoms include:
* Headache
* Blurred vision
* Nausea and vomiting
* Dizziness
* Problems thinking and remembering
* Feeling slowed down
* Not being able to concentrate

BRAINBOOK: Barrow, The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), and the Arizona Cardinals recently announced a major breakthrough in concussion prevention and research that is changing the face of high school sports. Arizona recently became the first in the United States to mandate all student athletes undergo concussion education and pass a formal test before play through a new program called Barrow Brainbook. All 100,000 student athletes through the AIA receive their concussion education through Barrow Brainbook, an interactive online site specifically geared toward students. Arizona is the first to define and create the education directly targeting students through a new e-learning module and the AIA is the first to require that every student complete and pass the education module in order to participate in athletics. Barrow Brainbook is currently being evaluated for implementation in other states throughout the nation. ( Source:

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