ST. PAUL, Minn. -- In an effort to get ahead of an alarming trend, state health officials are now tracking the number of concussions among prep athletes at some metro area high schools.
Since the study started this fall, officials have received reports of 387 concussions among athletes at the 42 schools participating in the study.
"And more are in the system," said Mark Kinde, Director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Program with the Minnesota Department of Health.
Kinde said the first-ever effort to track the concussion trend among high school athletes is due, in part, to gauging the impact on students' academic performance. They're also trying to get a handle on the number of concussions, overall, that occur in the state. And finally, they're hoping for new information that may lead to better prevention techniques.
"The goal is can we identify a practice or common set of risk factors that are contributing to concussions occurring," Kinde said.
For Matt Hovila, the effort is welcomed.
"I think it's a great step in the right direction," Hovila said from his Bloomington home.
Hovila, now 20 and a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, himself experienced nine concussions from his involvement in football and basketball. Today he co-leads a concussion support group for young adults and their parents who are also experiencing challenges related to the brain injury.
For Hovila, there's no looking back. He's committed to his studies, no longer sports.
"I just realized the risk wasn't really worth it. I have the rest of my life to live, rather than the rest of the season to play," he said.
For more information about Matt's group, "Connections4Concussions" just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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