The NSCP is affiliated with the National High School Coaches Association, and its "primary focus is to be the comprehensive concussion program to protect the youth in the United States and Canada," said Doug Grossinger, the group's executive director. Although most of the attention on concussions has come at the professional level - especially in the NFL and NHL - the NSCP has directed its efforts at youth and scholastic sports.
"A football player, by the time he gets to the NFL, if he's lucky enough to get that far, he's already suffered many concussions," Quick said.
Last season, the number of concussions reported by the NFL increased by more than 30 percent from 2008, according to data obtained by the Associated Press. The Eagles alone reported eight concussions during the season, including the devastating blows suffered by wide receiver DeSean Jackson and quarterback Kevin Kolb.
The long-term effects of sports-related concussions are still being researched, but the evidence of brain damage is mounting. Last month, former Bears safety Dave Duerson committed suicide after asking his family to donate to his brain to the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine.
Quick was joined at the event by former Flyer Keith Primeau and former Penn State football player Adam Taliaferro. Primeau's career was cut short because of post-concussion syndrome.
The NSCP is advocating the use of the King-Devick Test, developed years ago at Penn but never integrated into sports. The test is a rapid screening exam that employs the counting of numbers.
The NFL and NHL currently use a battery of tests suggested by an international conference on sports concussions in Zurich in 2008.
"Those tests have not been validated as a group," said Steve Galetta, a professor of neurology at Penn. "Their reliability has not been adequately assessed. . . . We need to now apply the rigors of evidence-based medicine."
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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