Stanford Football Captains, Nonprofit TeachAids, Aim To Tackle Concussions

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Concussions remain a widespread issue in youth sports. But, nonprofit TeachAids, is working to mitigate the issue through CrashCourse, a new interactive learning experience.

The program, which took two years to develop, is driven by some of the world’s leading experts in concussions and preventative curriculum. CrashCourse features content from more than one thousand professionals, students and athletes, including All-American running back and Doak Walker award-winner Bryce Love, Stanford Football captains Alameen Murphy, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Brandon Simmons, and wide-receiver Trenton Irwin.

“We really believe in this program,” said Alameen Murphy, captain for the Cardinal. “My teammates and I poured countless hours to build CrashCourse in order to create a powerful education platform that would resonate with today’s youth.”

To punctuate their passion and commitment to the program, the group recently shared a letter with ClassActSports.

Dear ClassActSports:

 We are Brandon Simmons, Alameen Murphy, and Bryce Love, Captains on the Stanford football team. We would just like to start by saying we greatly appreciate what the media has been doing to educate the public about concussions. This is an important issue currently in the world, and is especially important to us in the world of football. 

 We didn’t just start out as Stanford Captains. Each of us first started on a Pop Warner team across the country: Brandon on the Plainfield Cardinals (New Jersey), Alameen on the White Oak Warriors (Maryland), and Bryce on the North Raleigh Bulldogs (North Carolina). These were the times when we created some of our happiest memories, which included playing in regional, state, and national Pop Warner championships. We would love for kids to continue experiencing these positive memories. 

 Starting in January 2017, we enrolled in courses on curriculum design with Dr. Piya Sorcar, founder of TeachAids, an innovative health education nonprofit. As part of these courses, Stanford students, including athletes across multiple sports, came together to evaluate the strengths and weakness of current concussion education curricula. We realized there was a need for more interactive and engaging education for youth. This led us to begin working on an actual script for more compelling concussion education. Although it wasn’t easy, we all enjoyed the challenge of developing something that would further enhance the game we love. 

 The true magic behind the coursework really came from the countless hours we spent with local youth, reimagining what ideal concussion education could look like: one that is fun, engaging, and yet still informative. This is how CrashCourse was born. 

 CrashCourse is the first research-based, Virtual-Reality concussion education program in the world. This is an issue that hits close to home – so many of us in all sports have experienced concussions. Though we are grateful that Stanford has excellent concussion resources, we also know that younger athletes across the country may not be as fortunate. Growing up, we did not have nearly enough concussion education or awareness. This is why we feel responsible to educate youth about important topics, such as this. 

 On September 8, after two years of research and thousands of hours of user testing, we officially launched the HD version of CrashCourse to the public for free (the Virtual-Reality version will be released in a few months). This was a huge moment for all of us: our entire football team celebrated by wearing CrashCourse T-shirts on “The Walk” to Stanford stadium before the USC game.

 Our story has now come full circle: TeachAids has partnered with Pop Warner to make CrashCourse available to 325,000 participants across the nation. This partnership is one of the most meaningful accomplishments we can imagine, because it really means we can have an impact on our younger selves. 

 At a time in history when we all need to come together as a united front, we hope our story will spread the news about this important effort and inspire others to take action in their own personal ways. It will take all of us, in the huddle, to create the change we wish to see in the world. Please help share our story and continue the momentum we have already built thus far. 

 Thank you in advance, 

Brandon Simmons
Alameen Murphy
Bryce Love
Stanford Football Team Captains 

Stanford football players wear CrashCourse tees before Pac12 conference play

So, there you have it.  A handful of #ClassAct, promising athletes dedicated their time, energy and focus to an issue that goes beyond their own locker room. We wish Brandon, Alameen and Bryce luck in these efforts and hope they make a difference for athletes at all levels.