The NCAA announced Wednesday the selectees for the second phase of the Mind Matters Challenge. The challenge, which seeks to advance understanding of how to change culture, attitudes and behavior in young adults about concussion, is part of the broader joint initiative between the NCAA and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Mind Matters Challenge focuses on two initiatives:

• A research challenge designed to identify key factors and methodologies to change the culture and behavior of college student-athletes

• An educational program challenge meant to improve the effectiveness of concussion awareness programs delivered to student-athletes, which may then translate to service members and other at-risk populations. 

The goal of the Mind Matters Challenge is to improve concussion awareness education programs delivered to college athletes, service members and their influencers so that all clearly understand a concussion is a serious medical condition requiring appropriate treatment – just like a knee injury, eye injury or broken bone.

“Real change in concussion reporting must be rooted in science – not just in better defining the natural history of concussion through the study we have launched with the Department of Defense, but also the science of how to effect culture change,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said. “In areas like smoking cessation, the U.S. didn’t see real decreases until the culture changed. That is precisely the kind of environment we seek to create around concussion in the coming years through this challenge.”

Research Challenge

Participants in the research challenge are competing for a maximum of 10 research grants for amounts ranging up to $400,000. The challenge seeks to fund research into the mechanisms influencing cultural change in the target population. During the preliminary review, the NCAA and Department of Defense internal review panels identified a pool of exemplary proposals that intend to use a combination of sound methodologies and innovative approaches to change attitudes about concussions in young adults.

Those invited to participate in the next phase of the research challenge have the opportunity to submit comprehensive project proposals for final review.  All funding decisions will be made based upon these submissions, due Oct. 15. Winners will be selected this fall. Award amounts to each winning respondent will depend on the nature and scope of the respective proposal.

Phase Two Research Challenge participants:

• Steve Corman, Arizona State University
• Shelina Babul, British Columbia Injury Research & Prevention Unit
• Doug Coatsworth, Colorado State University
• Deborah Koltai Attix, Duke University Medical Center
• John Xerogeanes, Emory University
• Tracey Covassin, Michigan State University
• Kami Silk, Ph.D., Michigan State University
• Rachel Allison, Mississippi State University
• Janice C. Stapley, Monmouth University
• Debbie I. Craig, Northern Arizona University
• Mehdi Kalantari, Resensys
• Jessica Mirman, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
• Johna K. Register-Mihalik, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
• Dr. Shellie Acocello, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
• Christopher D'Lauro, U.S. Air Force Academy
• Breton Asken, University of Florida
• Julianne D. Schmidt, University of Georgia
• Robert W. Turner, University of Maryland, College Park
• David L. Wyrick, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
• Ann Elizabeth Glang, University of Oregon
• Dee Anne Warmath, University of Wisconsin-Madison
• Joel P. Bish, Ursinus College

Educational Program Challenge

The educational program challenge seeks entities with the expertise and capability to create compelling and impactful educational materials for college athletes and other at-risk populations in the area of concussion education, based on the best information available today.

Winning proposals for phase one of the educational program challenge will receive cash prizes of $25,000 each and have been invited to participate in phase two, which culminates in $75,000 of additional funding for one winning proposal. Phase one winners were selected based on the assessment of a joint NCAA-DOD review panel that at least one element of the submission is worth further development and exploration.

Phase One Educational Program Challenge winners:

• William Ernst, Chestnut Hill College
• Steve Nels Katzenberger, Creative Street Media Group
• Brooke de Lench, MomsTEAM Institute, Inc.
• Ashley Denise Marass, University of South Alabama
• Ricardo Valerdi, Science of Sport/University of Southern California
• Rennae Williams, Johnson C. Smith University

For more information, please visit the Mind Matters Challenge website.