Fouts, Flutie talk concussions, program that targets teens
Dan Fouts knows he’s suffered multiple concussions. Some he remembers, like the time he was knocked out in a game at Kansas City.
“I went over to the sideline and they gave me the baseline test, which was holding up two fingers,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback said. “And I guess that it was two because they always hold up two. So they say, ‘OK, you’re OK to go back in.’
Former NFL quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Doug Flutie have had their share of concussions and now they're backing a program that aims to help middle and high school students. (Photo courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods)
“I went in and I threw two interceptions, both returned for touchdowns and (the coaches) said, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t play anymore.’ ”
Concussions have been a growing problem in sports—not just football. Today, Fouts, along with former NFL players Doug Flutie and Jerome Bettis, are backing an initiative from Dick’s Sporting Goods that targets middle school and high school students for baseline testing.
The program, called PACE (Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education), has a goal of testing up to one million students. Through ImPACT, a computerized concussion evaluation system, kids across the country can have access to baseline testing. The program doesn’t prevent concussions, but can prevent future injuries.
ImPACT begins with a 20-minute baseline test in preseason. If a concussion is suspected later, another post-injury test is administered to access possible after-effects.
“The definition has changed over the years so if you really think about it, the number of times you’re knocked out cold, you probably can remember those — that was a concussion,” Fouts said. “Nowadays, if you have any blurriness or double vision or loss of memory, those are considered concussions. I can’t put a number on it. I wish that we had this type of program when I was younger. I wouldn’t have thrown so many interceptions—I blame most of them on concussions.”
Dick’s Sporting Goods is donating $1 through Sept. 12 to the PACE program for every pair of shoes sold by the store. They also will donate $1 for consumers who post about PACE on the Dick’s Sporting Goods Facebook page and tweet about it with the #DSGPACE hashtag.
“I know that I played a game at home against Kansas City and I got a bad concussion,” said 1984 Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie, who played professionally from 1985-2005. “I sat out the rest of the game and I had some memory loss. But I practiced on Wednesday and I came back and played. The next three weeks I had eight interceptions. You know, your reaction time—everything—it took me a good three or four weeks before I was ready. Not only that, you’re playing and taking hits and perpetuating it. Now, at least they have something to measure it against.
“The kids and the effects on the kids is just so much more important from the standpoint that they have their whole lives ahead of them and you don’t want something to happen now at a young age. To have the ability to have a baseline test out there—we’re talking middle school kids and up—it’s a way to prevent an overzealous coach or an overzealous parent from making a mistake.
For more information, visit dickssportinggoods.com/PACE.
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I just wanted to commend you and your staff for the great resources you supply for promoting ImPACT. They make our job a lot easier as we try to implement ImPACT.
- Amy Chamberlain, MS, ATC, CSCS, Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists, PC