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Concussion Education Via Text Message: Wave of the Future?

Free service is part of innovative BeUnstoppable Campaign

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- To get the message out to kids about concussions, a Chicago area sports medicine physician is targeting them where they live: on their phones. 

In collaboration with the national STOP Sports Injuries campaign (of which MomsTeam is a proud member), Dr. Vishal Mehta has started the BeUnstoppable Campaign.  Subscribers to the free service receive simple text messages about concussions, sports performance, injury prevention, and motivational tips from leading sports medicine experts and professional athletes. 

"Pieces of paper from a doctor have little appeal to a 17- or 18-year-old kid," says Dr. Mehta, who created the public service campaign through his organization Healthy-TXT. "Studies show that texting is the very best way to reach teenagers, as well as parents."

Kid tested, mom approved 

The program is growing exponentially. More than 90 sports medicine physicians, athletic trainers, high schools and youth football teams across Illinois and the Midwest have gotten involved and are encouraging parents, athletes, and coaches to sign up for the service. Boy receiving a text message

The campaign caught the attention of current Jacksonville Jaguar player and college All-American, Matthew Roth, who recently signed on to support the program. Roth played football at Willowbrook High School in Villa Park, Illinois, as well as for the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns.

"Texting this information is a great idea and lets parents, coaches and kids become aware of what a concussion is," says Roth.

Matt Williams, a quarterback at Geneva High School in Geneva, Illinois, says the free messages are short and engaging, and he always makes sure to pass them along to his teammates. "It's an easy way to check to see that everyone is good to go before heading onto the field."

"I love the combination of injury prevention messaging and motivational texts," says Amy Raftis, a Springfield, Illinois mother of three football players. "I think it will make a big difference reaching kids and parents."

Chance to win iPad2, Xenith helmet

To sign up, text the phrase "footballtips" to 41411 or go to www.healthy-TXT.com to register. All subscribers go through a mini concussion-training course. Upon completion, participants can take a concussion quiz, and be entered for a chance to win an iPad2. Winners will be announced on Super Bowl Sunday.

Participants will be randomly selected to win a customized X2 helmet from Xenith Adaptive Head Protection®, a BeUnstoppable Football Tips Campaign sponsor. ATI Physical Therapy of Bolingbrook, Illinois is also providing a $1,000 college scholarship to one lucky participant. Also supporting the program is Athletics2000, a division of 8 to18 Media, the largest operator of school extra-curricular websites in Illinois.

Healthy-TXT and STOP Sports Injuries are currently working on similar campaigns for other sports.

For more information, go to www.healthy-txt.com or for additional information on the STOP Sports Injuries campaign visit www.stopsportsinjuries.org.

For the most comprehensive concussion information for sports parents on the Internet, click here

Source:  American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

Posted October 28, 2011