APU joins landmark NCAA and DoD head trauma study

The Sports Medicine program at Azusa Pacific has joined the Grand Alliance program, a joint effort of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), to conduct the most comprehensive study of concussions to date.

The Cougars aren’t the only ones participating in the study, which includes, among others, the University of Michigan, Princeton and UCLA. APU is one of only three Division II schools taking part in the study.

The university also understands the benefits that association with those universities provide.

“It’s who you associate yourself with that elevates your status, your brand and brings you up to another level,” Athletic Director Gary Pine said.

The Cougars have not only participated, but excelled in the study.

“The leadership of the concussion consortium came, examined what we were doing and said we were the poster child,” Pine added. “They want other schools to come follow our protocols and collection of data.”

The Cougars have eased into the new data-collection protocols. The program requires that all athletes take a test, while healthy, to establish a baseline, so that possible concussions can be measured against each individual. A protocol much like this has been in place at APU for nearly 10 years.

“We were picked because our protocols were already similar to what the program required,” Head Athletic Trainer and Assistant Athletic Director April Hoy said.

As part of the study, sports medicine has received funding for technology as well as two research assistants to ease the burden on the athletic training staff.

Overall, the study will enroll more than 37,000 student-athletes and receive $30 million in funding. It is the largest study in head trauma to date.