Miami Dolphins partner with University of Miami to tackle youth concussions

Lisa Johnson
AFC South & East Reporter

By Lisa Johnson // @LJ1303

With so much emphasis on the NFL and their concussion protocol, one newly developed program now will focus on High School Football and student athletics.

During recent studies, it is now known that the rate of concussions in high school football is 2.01 for every 1,000 games.

Concussions can be particularly hazardous to high school and youth football players because the frontal lobe of the brain is still developing.

Leading this new program is Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D. who is a research professor at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine and a nationally recognized behavioral neuroscientist and expert in pediatric and adult neurotrauma, concussion management, and neurorehabilitation.

Some information about the new UHealth Concussion Program & Miami Dolphins Partnership.

*The University of Miami Health System’s Concussion Program and the Miami Dolphins Foundation provide education, safety, and concussion management training to high school athletic directors and athletic trainers.

*The partnership also sponsors ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) baseline testing – a neurocognitive assessment that measures reaction time, memory capacity, speed of mental processing and executive brain function.

*This baseline testing allows for a set of baseline results that can be used to compare to post-injury results.

*Beginning in 2019, the Miami Dolphins began to fund the program for Palm Beach County public high school football teams.

*In 2017, the Dolphins partnered with the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute and KiDZ Neuroscience Center at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to sponsor The University of Miami Countywide Concussion Care High School Program. The program covers all high school athletics programs in Miami-Dade County public schools and will impact more than 15,000 high school student-athletes.

Concussion testing is a common topic of concern for parents with active children, especially those who play sports. Numerous testing measures exist, making it difficult to know which is most effective in concussion diagnosis. Programs like these are needed to continue to study and recognize and educate our parents and coaches to educate their athletes that health and safety are the first priority.

Speaking with Dr. Hotz, it’s obvious she couldn’t be more passionate that these types of programs are needed across the country. Although many area high schools have implemented the 4 step concussion protocol, programs like this can education about concussions which in turn can be a  great tool for parents, coaches, and officials so that they can quickly notice the signs and symptoms of a concussion and take the appropriate action.


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