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AZ Tech Beat | July 24, 2017

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Barrow brain ball app seeks to decrease concussions in young athletes

Barrow brain ball app seeks to decrease concussions in young athletes
Ashley Garcia

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With high school football season on the rise, it is becoming increasingly important that safety precautions come into play and AZ Tech Beat has the scoop. Underreporting of concussions of young athletes remains a nationally prominent epidemic. In an effort to take action, Barrow Neurological Institute, the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), and the Arizona Cardinals announced the launch of a special concussion prevention video game for very young athletes and highlighted a new AIA regulation for football practice – both aimed at preventing head injuries in young athletes. Both initiatives are expected to continue Arizona’s lead in concussion awareness and reach young athletes across the nation.

The game is called Barrow Brain Ball and is the first game of its kind that aims to teach children, ages 8 to 12, how to safely avoid collisions with other players on the field. The game is funded by a grant from the Fiesta Bowl, is completely free and will be available for download soon on all Android and iPhones.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared with adults, younger persons are at increased risk for concussions and sports-related injuries with increased severity and prolonged recovery.

“We have developed concussion education for high school students, but until now there’s been minimal education available to youth athletes,” Dr. Javier Cardenas, neurologist and brain injury expert at Barrow Neurological Institute, said during a news conference at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. “Barrow Brain Ball is an innovative way for us to start teaching children throughout the U.S. about concussion in early age. We want them to learn how to play safe when they’re young.”

“Part of the strategy behind it is that kids will run up and down the field avoiding other players,” Cardenas said. “They will still be able to score, to get points, and then of course, there is an element in the classroom in which they demonstrate knowing about concussions. If their brain is injured [it] gets very upset at them and eventually they lose a game if they get too many hits.”

Michael Bidwell, President of the Arizona Cardinals shares, “Recognizing the high priority placed on safety in all sports, the Arizona Cardinals are proud to work alongside Barrow and the AIA to help protect young athletes. These are important and valuable initiatives and we hope that other states will adopt the same standards that Arizona has created.”

For more about Barrow Neurological Institute, click here

Photo provided by Barrow Neurological Institute