August 24, 2012
With the kickoff of Chicago’s high school football season tonight, The Dave Duerson Foundation has announced it will donate 80 concussion testing kits covering all Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) high school football programs. The kits, known as the King-Devick Test, are an effective remove-from-play sideline test administered to student athletes by trained non-medical professionals when concussion-like symptoms occur or are suspected during a game.
The donation was announced today by Tregg Duerson, representing the Duerson family, at Whitney Young High School on Chicago’s near west side.
“My family and I are pleased to donate the King-Devick Test to Chicago Public Schools,” said Tregg Duerson, the son of Dave Duerson. “It is our hope and duty to contribute to a safer game of football in memory of my father, who suffered from a brain disease related to concussions received during his football career.”
Dave Duerson played in the National Football League for 11 years for the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Phoenix Cardinals. He won two Super Bowls, including one with the 1985 Bears, and received the NFL Man of the Year award for charitable work related to substance abuse prevention and the Special Olympics. In February 2011 he committed suicide. Prior to doing so he requested his brain be donated to science.
Chicago Public Schools requires concussion management training for coaches and athletic directors on guidelines for identifying head injuries, as well as criteria for removing players from games. The Board of Education passed the policy earlier this year in cooperation with the Chicago Concussion Coalition.
“Our first priority is supporting our students and helping them succeed, from keeping them learning in the classroom to keeping them safe on the field,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “We are extremely grateful to the Duerson family for their generosity.”
The test allows football teams to provide sideline evaluation for players suspected of sustaining head injuries and will determine if players need to be pulled from games. The test is administered by comparing baseline, non-game situation readings to readings taken on the sideline following a suspected head injury. The Foundation will work in collaboration with CPS and the King-Devick Test manufacturer to facilitate training for at least one individual at each of the 80 CPS high school football programs.
The number of concussions sustained by high school athletes is increasing, with the highest rate among high school football players. The King-Devick Test is designed to be able to screen for concussions even in athletes without traditional symptoms, according to published papers in leading neurology journals reflecting studies by the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. It does not replace any other assessment for concussion, but serves as a complement.
Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.