JONESBORO – With August comes the start of high school football, and for a professor at Arkansas State University, heightened concern for the young athletes who might sustain a concussion.
Dr. Scott Bruce has joined with other health professionals to form the Delta Concussion Project (DCP), which has a goal of reducing the incidence and harmful impact of sports-related concussions. He is assistant dean for research in the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) at A-State and an associate professor and director of research for the Master of Athletic Training (MAT) program.
Involved in concussion research for more than 20 years, Bruce was in a group of professionals who prepared the first position statement on concussion published by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in 2004. He also founded the Chattanooga Concussion Prevention Initiative in 2012 before joining A-State.
“DCP is a joint effort between A-State and St. Bernards Medical Center,” Bruce said. “Andy Shatley with St. Bernards and Dr. Shawn Drake, former A-State faculty member, are co-founders. In addition, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at A-State will also be involved in this community-based, interprofessional venture.”
Shatley oversees the hospital’s sports medicine outreach program and Drake remains involved with DCP despite recently accepting a new position as department chair for physical therapy at another institution.
“Our goal is to prevent, educate, evaluate, treat and manage concussions sustained, primarily, by the secondary and middle school athletes, but really for anyone who suffers a concussion,” Bruce explained. “It does not matter how they may have been concussed, where they may have been when they were concussed, their age, or any other factors they may have related to suffering a concussion.”
High school athletes who suffer an apparent concussion initially will be evaluated by their school’s athletic trainer. An athletic trainer who believes the athlete has suffered a concussion can refer the student to the Delta Concussion Project for further evaluation and management through the DCP clinic.
Fully committed to the DCP mission, Bruce said he is determined to help parents and student athletes learn more about how to prevent a concussion, and to educate them on what to do next if one occurs.
“I am available to talk with parents and other groups about concussions, anytime, anywhere,” he said. Presentations can be concise or very comprehensive, depending on the group and the time frame.
More than 730 peer-reviewed articles on concussion have been published in professional medical literature just this year, Bruce noted, with more than 200 of those focusing on sport-related concussion.
“The world of concussions is ever changing. The protocols we are using and the methods we are asking the clinicians to use are based on the best evidence available,” he emphasized. “As new information is discovered and disseminated, we will obviously be making changes in our protocols and methods.”
As baseline testing for football players and cheerleaders gets underway, Bruce and his associates look forward to assisting individuals who sustain a concussion as well as those who treat them.
Bruce may be contacted about the Delta Concussion Project by contacting him at A-State, sbruce@AState.edu or (870) 972-3822.