Researchers and academic officials in Texas have launched the nation's largest statewide effort to track concussions among young athletes in order to assess the prevalence of brain injuries in high school sports.

The University of Texas' Southwestern Peter O'Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and the University Interscholastic League (UIL) have partnered to create the ConTex registry, which will provide a statewide database for reported concussions in middle and high school athletes and their recovery.

UT and the UIL hope the registry will fill major gaps in concussion research and help determine if changes to rules or equipment have recently improved player safety or may do so in the future.

“This is a groundbreaking initial step," said Dr. Munro Cullum, Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Neurotherapeutics and Neurological Surgery with the O’Donnell Brain Institute at UT Southwestern Medical Center.. "I think we’re on the verge of a very impactful project that will inform the nation about the frequency of concussions and will provide basic information about concussion and recovery in student-athletes.”

ConTex relies on coaches and trainers to report all concussions that occur in UIL activities via an app or website designed by Austin's Medical Innovation Labs. Other information submitted includes the cause of the concussion, the student's concussion history, and gender.

Texas' registry leads the nation with more than 800,000 students participating in high school sports, according to an article published by UT's Southwestern Medical Center.

The article also states that children under the age of 15 account for the most traumatic brain injury visits to emergency rooms.

Researchers hope Texas' registry will provide a blueprint for other states.

Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control officials are seeking federal funding for a nationwide database which could be modeled off of Texas'.

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