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UPMC Sports Concussion Researchers Study New Revolution™ Football Helmet At Area High Schools This Fall

PITTSBURGH, August 19, 2002 — During the upcoming high school football season, UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program directors will be conducting a research study with 12 area high school football teams to collect data regarding the new Revolution™ football helmet.

"The Revolution, made by Riddell®, has been extensively researched in the laboratory. It is hoped that these advances will translate into a reduction of the incidence and severity of concussions," said Mark Lovell, Ph.D., director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and co-principal investigator for the study.

The Revolution was first introduced at the 2002 Super Bowl and will be available for the National Football League (NFL), college, high school and youth leagues for the first time this fall. The UPMC study will be the first study of the helmet at the high school level.

Between 10 and 20 percent of high school football players sustain a concussion each year, according to numerous studies. Concussion occurs when a person's brain is violently rocked back and forth inside the skull due to a blow to the head or upper body. Concussion can disturb brain activity, with mild short- or long-term symptoms that may include disorientation, confusion, dizziness, amnesia and headache. Severe consequences of concussion can include long-term neurocognitive dysfunction, brain swelling and even death.

Biokinetics & Associates and several universities conducted a recent study of the biomechanics of concussion in professional football. The study, partially funded by NFL Charities, found that most on-the-field concussions are caused by impacts to the side of the head, not the front or top, as previously believed. Based on this finding, Riddell, the official helmet manufacturers of the NFL, developed the Revolution, with several innovative features in an effort to protect the head from side impacts as well as front or back impacts and reduce the risk of concussion.

"To date, there is no field-of-play evidence that the Revolution helmet will result in a reduction of injuries, although laboratory testing has been promising," said Dr. Lovell, a neuropsychologist who also oversees the neurocognitive testing programs for the NFL.

The UPMC study will involve 12 area high school football teams. Players on six of the teams will be fitted with Revolution helmets to be worn throughout the season. Players on the other six teams will wear their standard helmets throughout the season. Both the standard and Revolution helmets are approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards of Athletic Equipment. During the season, researchers will monitor any concussions that occur and will collect and analyze data on the effectiveness of the helmets in reducing incidence and severity of concussion.

Each player will receive pre-season base-line neurocognitive testing with the ImPACT© concussion evaluation system, developed by the directors of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion and Cognitive Testing) is a 20-minute computer test that provides data on an athlete's neurocognitive function, both pre-injury and post-injury. If the athlete sustains a concussion, he will be retested with ImPACT and the post-concussion neurocognitive brain function data will be compared to the pre-concussion data, thus enabling doctors to better evaluate the injury's severity and recovery.

As with numerous other high schools in the region that use UPMC's sports concussion program and the ImPACT system, each athlete who sustains a concussion will be treated by his respective school's sports medicine team, led by a certified athletic trainer, in addition to being evaluated by the UPMC neuropsychologists with ImPACT before being cleared for return to play.

"By the end of the season, we hope that this study will have enabled us to collect valuable detailed information to help us learn more specifically about football helmets' effect on concussion," said Michael Collins, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist, assistant director of the UPMC sports concussion program and co-principal investigator of the study.

The high schools participating in the study are: Blackhawk, Karns City, Hopewell, Butler, Altoona, Upper St. Clair, Emmaus, South Allegheny, Fox Chapel, Mt. Lebanon, Ringold and Bradford. The study is partially funded by Riddell.

For information on the UPMC Sports Concussion Program or sports concussions, please access www.impacttest.com.

For more information on the Revolution, go to www.riddell.com.

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