Bryant students educated on concussion risks with VR software
Bryant High School has become the first school in the nation to use virtual reality equipment to educate student athletes on the dangers of concussions and what they should do if they believe they have been injured.
Former Stanford University quarterback Ryan Burns, of nonprofit group Teachaids.org, addressed the crowd on Wednesday to educate about the dangers of a concussion and to let BHS athletes try out the virtual reality equipment.
“Our main focus these last few months has been to bring every student in Arkansas concussion education in virtual reality,” Burns said.
Burns knows first-hand the dangers of a concussion. He suffered one while at Stanford, leading to him losing his starting spot because he did not report his injury and didn’t receive treatment.
“I knew immediately. It was one of those things where I was totally disoriented. I couldn’t remember
anything, even the most basic of plays,” Burn said.
In addition to not being able to play, he started struggling in other areas, including his school work.
One of the reason Burns joined Teachaids is to make sure what happened to him does not happen to other students.
According to Teachaids, 1 in 5 high school athletes will suffer a concussion. While most concussions will heal within 10 days, most are not aware of the latest science
concerning prevention and treatment of concussions. If not properly treated, a concussion can leave a student with lasting psychical, emotional and cognitive effects.
Using Oculus headsets, students are placed in a virtual football game where an opposing player smashes into them resulting in the injury. A player can choose to remove themselves from the game or keep playing. If they keep playing, they receive a second injury that lands them in the hospital. Students are then lead through a question-andanswer portion that teaches them the signs of a concussion
and what they should do if the believe they have received a concussion.
“Today marks a historic moment,” Burns said. “Arkansas becomes the first state in the country to provide VR based concussion education to every school.”
Symptoms of a concussion can include blacking out, disorientation, lack of concentration and poor balance, however, even if a student experiences one or more of these symptoms, they do not recognize it as a concussion system. They also may not report the symptoms for fear of losing playing time or not realizing the harm
they could be doing to themselves that could last the rest of their lives.
All schools in the state will be receiving the equipment free of charge for students to use. That program is jointly sponsored by the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Activities Association and Teachaids.
The initiative was launched in 2015 by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to help the Arkansas Department of Education receive the VR equipment for every school in the state.
Bryant High School football player Catrell Wallace tries out the VR equipment that teaches students concussion education. Thanks to a program sponsored by numerous groups, including the governor’s office, the equipment will be provided to every school in the state free of charge.