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Arizona high school concussion education program expands to California

In this Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Birmingham Groves athletic trainer Kelly Salter, left, helps a football player as he fills out a baseline test that measures reaction time, attention, memory and stress by completing a series of exercises that involve such things as word recognition in Beverly Hills, Mich. Groves is one of 62 Michigan high schools participating in a unique pilot concussion program that does baseline testing of athletes in football and other sports. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

PHOENIX — A concussion education program for Arizona high school athletes is moving to four San Francisco Bay schools, just ahead of Super Bowl 50.

Dr. Javier Cardenas, director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, created the online program.  He said the students learn how to recognize a concussion in themselves and in fellow athletes.

More than 300,000 high school athletes in Arizona have participated in the program.

He said the students take away from the training, “the experience of a concussion, looking out for fellow athletes, what to do in the event of a concussion, and how to make sure they don’t put themselves in a position to sustain another injury before they’ve completely recovered.”

Dr. Cardenas said most people who sustain concussions do recover, but preventing a subsequent concussion before the initial injury heals is very important. He noted concussions are invisible to observers, so feedback from the athletes is critical.

“We have found that with this program, more athletes are self-reporting and more athletes are identifying concussions in their teammates and reporting it to an athletic trainer or a coach,” Cardenas said.

Cardenas said he hopes to expand the training beyond the Bay area into all of California and eventually into the rest of the country.

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