TEXAS TO LAUNCH YOUTH-ATHLETE CONCUSSION STUDY
austin, texas» This week, Texas will launch what state officials said is the nation’s largest effort to track brain injuries among young athletes.
The University Interscholastic League, Texas’ governing body for public high school sports, is partnering with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center for the project, from which they hope to gauge whether rules or equipment changes are improving player safety and what more can be done to protect athletes.
A state as large as Texas, which has more than 800,000 public high school athletes, would be a key step in developing a national database of brain injuries in youths, officials said. Already, the federal Centers of Disease Control and Prevention is seeking federal funding for such a database.
“Until we understand what the frequency of concussions is across the state, or a region of the state, we can’t determine when rule changes, equipment changes or things like recovery programs are really being effective,” said Dr. Munro Cullum, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and neurotherapeutics who will lead the study.
All 50 states in recent years passed rules or laws to address concussions in youth athletics from research to protocols for identifying concussions and setting rules for return to play. The CDC estimated that almost four million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities each year, but some experts wonder if those numbers underestimate total brain injuries, as some individuals may not seek treatment for mild or moderate symptoms.
The Texas program will track about two dozen sports, from football to girls soccer, recording what caused an injury, recovery time and other data.
Other states also have researched head injuries.
In Michigan, which requires schools to report concussions, a recent concussion study showed 755 schools reported 4,452 head injuries in the 2015-16 school year. Football had the most with 1,907, and girls’ basketball ranked No. 2 with 454.
Brazel wins Hong Kong open
B hong kong» Australia’s Sam Brazel birdied the 18th hole to narrowly edge Rafa Cabrera Bello to capture the Hong Kong Open, his first title on the European Tour.
Ranked 480th in the world, Brazel plays on the Asian Tour and had never had a top-10 European Tour finish before. The win gives him automatic entry into European Tour events for the next two years.
Brazel and Cabrera Bello started the round level at 11-under par, but the Australian sank three consecutive birdies on the back nine to take the lead, and then made his birdie putt on the final hole to nudge the Spaniard for the title.
Brazel shot a 68 for an overall total of 13-under 267, while Cabrera Bello, who had a double bogey on the par-3 8th hole, shot a 69 and finished a stroke back.
Andrew Dodt of Australia shot a final-round 66 to tie for third with Tommy Fleetwood of England (68), two shots off the leader.
David Lipsky of the United States carded a 68 to finish in fourth place.
• David Duval and stepson Nick Karavites shot a 10-under 62 to win the PNC Father/Son Challenge by one stroke.
Strong is new coach at USF.
Three weeks after being fired by Texas, Charlie Strong was hired to be the coach at South Florida, returning to a region where he has deep roots and a conference where he has won championships.
Strong was fired by Texas on Nov. 26, the day after coaching his final game with the Longhorns. At USF, he replaces Willie Taggart, who left the Tampa school to become coach at Oregon.
• Stanford and Rice will open the 2017 football season in Sydney.