Pac-12 announces “Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative”

PRESS RELEASE from the Pac-12 Conference

Walnut Creek, Calif. – The Pac-12 and its CEO Group made up of university Presidents and Chancellors have agreed to a comprehensive “Student-Athlete Health and Well-Being Initiative” to start in the 2013-2014 academic year, the Conference announced today.

Following this past weekend’s summer meetings and unanimous approval from the Pac-12 CEO Group, the initiative will build upon current efforts to improve the health and safety of Pac-12 student-athletes while establishing new activities.

The group acknowledges that it is impossible to eliminate all injuries, but has developed the initiative to find ways to reduce injuries today, share current best practices and latest studies, and conduct research to uncover new ways to keep student-athletes as safe as possible.

“The health and well-being of our more than 7,000 student-athletes competing within the Pac-12 each year is of paramount importance,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair Ed Ray. “This new initiative is a great step towards taking advantage of the full resources of our research institutions for the benefit of our student-athletes.”

The elements of the initiative include:

· Student-Athlete Health & Well-Being Research Program: Under this new program, the Pac-12 will establish a steering committee of top doctors and researchers from Pac-12 institutions, convene a summit in early 2014 where doctors and researchers share research and joint initiatives, and commit $3.5M in research grants for projects at Pac-12 institutions aimed at improving student-athlete health and well being.

· Student-Athlete Health Conference: This Pac-12 will lead and enhance the annual Student-Athlete Health Conference. This meeting has been in existence for 10+ years as a forum for doctors and medical trainers from Pac-12 institutions to share best practices, review ongoing research studies and evaluate Pac-12 policies. In its first year as a Pac-12 event, the Pac-12 will introduce new speakers and programs to advance collaboration of all 12 universities, and establish an official process for implementing recommendations put forth by the conference.

· Head Trauma Task Force: The Pac-12 will establish a task force under the Student-Athlete Health Conference to study head trauma and find ways to limit damage and exposure to student-athletes. Pac-12’s General Counsel and Director of Football will lead the task force and appoint coaches, administrators and doctors from Pac-12 institutions.

· Football Contact Reduction: The Pac-12 will codify into a formal policy the existing practices across the Conference as they relate to limiting contact in football practice. The final policy will be released at Pac-12 Football Media Day on July 26. Going forward, the Pac-12 will look at guidelines around contact in practice to ensure that student-athlete well-being is being closely monitored, both in the amount of contact and in providing our student-athletes and coaches with ample opportunity to teach and learn the correct tackling methods during the spring and preseason.

“Pac-12 institutions house the leading medical trainers, doctors, and scientists working to enhance student-athlete health and well being,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Our athletic departments and coaches have been very progressive in this area and are deeply committed to advancing these efforts,” he added. “This initiative seizes on our opportunity to embrace, support, and coordinate all these efforts and build a framework to advance them with new resources, expertise and funding.”

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