A concussion is a common result of trauma to the head in contact sports, and players, coaches and trainers are becoming more concerned about it.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington's kinesiology department have launched major research involving young athletes that could lead to better monitoring of concussions, and, ultimately, better treatment.
Pantego Christian Academy athletes are the first to be measured for the study.
Colin Price, who plays multiple sports, said he suffered a concussion last year during a tackle.
"I didn't respond to anybody,” Price said. “I didn't know what was really happening. I didn't remember where my bag was, I didn't remember a lot of things. It was weird."
The UTA research aims to develop a better understanding of the effects of concussions on young athletes, and in the process, educate the athletes and their families about the effects of repeated concussions and the hazards of returning to play too soon.
Lead researcher Jacob Resch records the athletes’ ability to balance. The athletes also take computerized neuropsychological tests. If any of the athletes suffers an injury later, they'll take the tests again.
"And then, after a concussion, we know from research that those scores may or may not be affected,” Resch said.
The data might reveal how athletes function before and after concussion, and at what point after injury they return to normal.
"It's very, very complicated, and it's, quite frankly, unclear what the true long-term effects are,” said UT Southwestern’s Munro Cullum. “How many concussions are too many? How severe a concussion is too many to return to play?"