Many concussions among football players sustained in practice, study finds

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Officials said 11,000 student-athletes and cadets were participating in the largest concussion study ever conducted. (KABC)

A concussion study that is being heralded as the largest ever conducted has revealed startling revelations about the connection between sports and head injuries.

Researchers who gathered at the University of California, Los Angeles, on Friday pointed to a knowledge gap when it comes to concussions. That's why the NCAA and the Department of Defense teamed up to share information and even shape public health policy.

There were 11,000 student-athletes and cadets being monitored in some fashion under the study.

"I believe we're at a tipping point," Pac-12 Conference Commissioner Larry Scott said. "Over the next few years there's going to be an amazing growth in the knowledge about what is a concussion, what are the different types of concussions and different ways to treat them. What are the potential long-term implications?"

Sensors in helmets were yielding more data about the frequency and intensity of hits. The results have led to better helmets.

"If you look at the inside of a football helmet today at UCLA or USC compared to what it looked like five years ago, night and day (difference)," Scott said.

The study found that among football players, many injuries were sustained during drills. One solution was to limit contact during practices.

Many college teams have also placed spotters in the skybox who watch for signs of trouble, such as disorientation and dizziness.

Another change in concussion protocol has been healing time. Officials used to recommend six and a half days, but there were many repeat injuries.

Now officials recommend about 14 days.

Coaches said athletes were self-reporting more often because the players know they could return to competition healthier.

The results of multiple studies were scheduled to be released over the next nine months.
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