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Concussion-Prevention Video Game Launches in Arizona

In partnership with the Arizona Interscholastic Association and the Arizona Cardinals, the Barrow Neurological Institute last week launched a free new concussion-prevention video game for 8- to 12-year-old student-athletes.

The game, called Barrow Brain Ball, aims to teach youth-athletes how to safely avoid collisions with other players. It will soon be available as a free download for iPhones and Android phones.

"We have developed concussion education for high school students, but until now there's been minimal education available to youth athletes," said Dr. Javier Cárdenas, a neurologist at the institute, in a statement. "Barrow Brain Ball is an innovative way for us to start teaching children throughout the U.S. about concussion early in age. We want them to learn how to play safe when they're young."

According to Cronkite News, the game features helmet-shaped icons that players move to score points by avoiding collisions with others. It will also include lessons about symptoms and signs of concussions.

"While the fun part of the game is running up and down the field, they can only advance if they complete the educational sessions as well," Cárdenas said to Cronkite News.

The Barrow Brain Ball game was funded through a grant from the Fiesta Bowl. Below, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director Robert Shelton explains how the relationship came into being.

Back in 2011, the AIA became the first state high school association to mandate concussion education for all student-athletes. During the news conference to announce the l video game, Cárdenas said that more than 180,000 high school students throughout the state have completed the program.

Earlier this year, the AIA continued its trendsetting ways by becoming the first state high school association to set a limit on the amount of contact allowed at football practices. Starting this fall, football coaches in the state can't have more than half of practices be full contact in the preseason. During the regular season, coaches are prohibited from having full-contact practices in more than one-third of total practice time.

In June, Texas' University Interscholastic League followed suit by approving a change that limits football players to a maximum of 90 minutes of full-contact practice per week during the regular season and postseason.

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