The UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and University Interscholastic League announced plans Monday to launch a statewide registry recording brain injuries in middle and high school athletes.
Other states have created similar registries in recent years, but the ConTex registry will be the largest statewide effort to track concussions so far, according to UT Southwestern Medical Center.
“This is a groundbreaking initial step. I think we’re on the verge of a very impactful project that will inform the nation about the frequency of concussions and will provide basic information about concussion and recovery in student-athletes,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, professor of psychiatry, neurology and neurotherapeutics, and neurological surgery at the O’Donnell Brain Institute, in a release.
Under the current injury reporting system in Texas, only one school in each district is required to report concussions each week.
“Right now it’s a sample that is just a snapshot. It’s not scientific,” UIL deputy director Jamey Harrison told the Associated Press. “We need to move beyond that.”
“I do think our registry will develop a very strong groundwork for a national registry.”
Dr. Munro Cullum
The ConTex registry will be made up of concussion cases that happen during UIL athletic activities. Athletic trainers and school personnel will report information such as cause of injury and the player’s concussion history and gender to the database via an app or website.
For now, the reports will be voluntary for UIL-member schools, but officials plan to expand participation next school year. They hope the collective data can provide insight into whether or not rules or equipment changes are leading to increased player safety.
“A lot of states will follow suit if they’re not already working on this very topic,” Cullum said. “I do think our registry will develop a very strong groundwork for a national registry.”
Funds for the registry will come from UT Southwestern’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair.
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