Yukking it up at the coaches’ convention, part two

Meet Sandra Chapman, self-described football nut and a former Texas cheerleader, who may not be a doctor, but plays a concussion expert at conventions, evidently.

“The myth is that brain damage is permanent,” she said.

Early recognition of a concussion is crucial, she said, and then athletes must be given plenty of time to get better and avoid the risk of further concussion. Chapman suggested that coaches treat players with concussions not much differently than they would one with a broken ankle or torn ACL by keeping them sidelined. If so, the long-term problems associated with concussions can be avoided, she said.

“In the majority of cases, athletes fully recover after a concussion, given proper care,” Chapman said. “If you were to read the front pages, you would not believe this is true. But it is.”

Chapman didn’t downplay the risk of head injuries from playing football and said that she initially didn’t want her own son to play the game. But the benefits of football – including improved self-esteem, the lessons of teamwork and exercise – can’t be overlooked, she argued. Rather than a health risk, she called football “health-enhancing.”

“Most [concussions] come from car accidents, and we’re not getting rid of our cars, as you know,” she said.

She even has her own word.

On the other hand, it was a little curious to hear a neuroscientist tout health benefits of football such as making teenagers less likely to engage in other risky behaviors, less likely to become addicted to video games and encourage better sleep. She even talked about “brainomics” – her own word – which she defined as “the high economic cost if we don’t encourage youth to play team sports.”

Maybe one day there’ll be a Nobel Prize for brainomics.  In the meantime, please be careful when you drive.



Filed under Science Marches Onward, The Body Is A Temple

22 responses to “Yukking it up at the coaches’ convention, part two

  1. TennesseeDawg

    She has a Ph.D from the University of Texas and is a professor in the school of behavioral and brain sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.


  2. godawg

    Move over Condoleezza, Sandra is not only a football nut AND former cheerleader but she has a lot of brains…of course most of them are in jars….


  3. Fun with Facts
    1.Leading cause of death in USA: biological aging. Well, we are not going to stop aging as you know. 😉
    2.Leading cause of car accidents:alcohol consumption, leading to intoxication while driving, is easily the biggest factor in fatal car accidents” This has steadily declined since 2010 due to car safety in spite of the increasing number of people on the road. Car accidents kill the greatest number of people ages 3-34. Well, we are certainly not going to stop drinking as you know. (Although many should)
    3. More people die from HIV than car accident. ( I was going to say something funny here but it all seemed in poor taste)
    4. http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-concussions


  4. Skeeter

    So a snark about brain injuries? What a laugh riot.


  5. If her premise is that football is a healthy form of exercise, then the 2013 UGA football team would have to disagree. Football players put their bodies through extraordinary stress and call it practice. They do that to prepare their bodies for the extreme punishment they expose themselves to in an actual game.

    If your premise is that they know what they are getting themselves into, then I’ll buy that to an extent. But, don’t try to sell the idea that football is good for your bodies like eating an apple or a brisk walk. Because even the most casual of observers can watch a game and know that to be cow manure.


    • gastr1

      It’s clear that the benefits she cites apply to any team sport, including the less physically dangerous ones….


  6. Will Trane

    She should not lack for work. There are way too many communication disorders in this country now. A professional jabber walker. But if you can repeat the alphabet in reverse order and hum Dixie in reverse notes you have no problem. Concussion are serious. 2 promising local players gave it up due to that.


    • I am very grateful for Speech. It helped cushion the load of Organic Chemistry and my last required Physics class. Concussions are terrible. One winter quarter we road tripped to Snowshoe to ski. It had rained there a couple of days before we arrived and it was tough skiing. The 2nd day we were there our (last day) I let the skis get high and in front of me and took a bad tumble. I was miserable. Went to emergency room at Athens Regional and got to visit with Happy Dicks. Concussion and bruised optic nerve. Yikes. You can’t see unless you close one eye. Heals s l o w l y. Anyway Dr. Dicks never smiled. When he finally gave me the ok he said. ” You were lucky. What ever tricks you trying to pull on those skis don’t do it again. Stupid stunts can follow you around for a long time.”


      • Dog in Fla

        Good Happy Dicks story! One can never go wrong with that advice. After years of having things hit my head as well as spending some time around the comments section here, I ask who among us hasn’t had a traumatic brain injury?


        • LOL! Brad Register is my orthopedic guy at Athens Orthopedics. You might remember him from the Donnan Days. He left for Harvard Medical School his senior year. Super guy and he always has a Georgia story to tell. He is even patient enough to listen to my HS “glory days” with Coach Orgel. DGD!


  7. Cojones

    So. how long would Aaron have been benched for all the whacks he took that would have qualified as concussions no matter the extent? He had several flavors of the year each year, but marched back to please the FB world. When you start counting, his time on the pines should have lasted for a good part of the playing year.


  8. Dog in Fla

    o @AthensHomerDawg
    “It would be very revealing to see who funds her research.”

    For starters, $11,000,000.00 from T. Boone. According to her CV excerpt, Brainomics has been very, very good to Sandra, who is not only a speech pathologist but also a fundraiser par excellence

    The University of Texas at Dallas
    Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy
    University of Texas at Dallas
    May, 1986
    M.A. Master of Arts in Communication Disorders
    University of North Texas
    August, 1974
    B.A. Bachelor of Arts Degree in Speech Pathology
    University of North Texas
    December, 1973
    2004-Present Dee Wyly Distinguished Chair in BrainHealth
    2003-Present Professor; University of Texas at Dallas; Department of Behavioral and Brain Sciences
    1999-Present CHIEF DIRECTOR, Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas. The Center is dedicated to understanding, protecting and healing the brain. Research and advanced clinical interventions optimize functional capacity and quality of life in clients with dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, traumatic brain injury and complications of normal aging, across the lifespan.
    2007 – Research Integrity Committee Appointment, UT Dallas Academic Senate Committee
    2005-Present Editorial Board – Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine for Neuroscience Section
    1990–Present Reviewer for numerous Journals including but not limited to: Brain and Language, Archives of Neurology, Journal for Alzheimers Disease and Associated Disorders, Psychology and Aging, Neuropsychologia, Brain and Cognition, Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Cerebral Cortex, Journal of International Neuropsychology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, Psychology and Aging
    Faculty/Research Scientist, University of Texas at Dallas

    Raised $6,000,000 to establish 3 Distinguished Chairs in Brain Science at $2 million each
    Raised more than $20,000,000 for Center for BrainHealth building
    T. Boone Pickens $11,000,000 total for research and building use
    Rees Jones Foundation $250,000 for Equipping Social Cognition Real Life Laboratory
    Garnered $500,000 worth of sculptures for outdoor landscaping
    Crystal Charity Ball $300,000 as part of a collaborative grant
    Hudson Foundation $80,000 for Hudson Scholar
    Legacy Award Dinner $750,000 honoring Board Chair, Debbie Francis
    Obtained $50,000 from Container Store, for BrainHealth annual lecture series to sponsor educational outreach

    1986-Present Grants Funded as Principal Investigator
    Principal Investigator: Berman Laboratory for Knowledge, Learning and Memory $1,000,000 (2007- Present)
    Principal Investigator: Wacker Foundation: Genes and Brain Images in Social Cognition: $400,000 (2005-2008)
    Principal Investigator: Lattner Foundation: $1,000,000 (2006-2010)
    Principal Investigator: Sparrow Foundation: $3,000,000, Center for Advanced ADHD Research, Treatment and Education (2006-2009)
    Principal Investigator: T. Boone Pickens Foundation: Healthy Brain Aging and Pickens Virtual Learning $ 4,000,000 (2006-2009)
    Principal Investigator: Lyda Hill: BrainHealth and Exercise, $200,000 (2007 – present)
    Principal Investigator: Caren Prothro Foundation, Brain Repair Biomarker in Brain Injury; $500,000( 2004-present)
    Principal Investigator: McDermott Foundation: Brain Repair Research; $250,000 (2005 – present)
    Principal Investigator: Anonymous, Brain Repair in Children with Brain Injury $180,000, (2004 – Present)
    Principal Investigator: David Disiere: Adult ADHD, $200,000
    Principal Investigator: Jerry and Claudia Stool – $200,000 Childhood ADHD, $250,000 Alzheimers (2005-present)
    Principal Investigator. Sparrow Foundation, $325,000 Social Cognition and Virtual Training in Children, (2005-present)
    Principal Investigator: Long-term Follow-along Care for Children with Acquired Brain Injuries, Crystal Charity Ball & Kidney Texas, 2007 – Funded
    Federal Initiative for Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Technology, Human Performance Equipment, 2007 – Funded $500,000
    Co-Principal Investigator: Social Development Following Brain Injury, NIH, 2008-2012 – Pending
    Principal Investigator: Genetic Factors in Outcome after Traumatic Brain Injury, NIH, 7/1/4-6/30/09 – Funded (6/04).
    Principal Investigator: Neurobehavioral Outcome of Head Injury in Children,” NINCDS, 7/1/04-6/30/09 – Granted (6/04).
    Principal Investigator: Neurobehavioral Outcome of Head Injury in Children,” NINCDS, 7/1/91 – 6/30/03.
    Principal Investigator: -Behavioral and Genetic Distinctions in Primary Progressive Aphasia and Motor-Speech Loss” (2000-2005) $100,000
    Principal Investigator: Randomized Trials of Cognitive Communication in Adults with Alzheimer’s Disease (2000-2003) $125,000.
    Principal Investigator: “Images, Language, and Genes in Pediatric Brain Injury,” Crystal Charity Ball, (2002) $250,000.
    Language Consultant: NIH Program Project, Frontal Temporal Dementia: Genes, Images, and Emotions, UCSF (2002-2005)
    Principal Investigator: Cognitive Communication Recovery after Brain Injury, (2002-2005), Derek Bruce Recovery Project, $100,000
    Principal Investigator: “Spared and Impaired Abilities in Normal Elderly Adults,” (2002), CitiGroup and Presbyterian Village North, $30,000.
    Principal Investigator: “Spared and Impaired Cognitive Abilities in Advanced Aging” (in process)
    Principal Investigator: “Cultural Influence on Aphasia in African-Americans,” Veterans Administration, 10/96 – 9/98.
    Principal Investigator: “Cognitive Discourse Processing in Elderly Populations,” National Institute of Aging, 9/1/91- 8/31/96.
    Principal Investigator: “Child H.O.P.E. Project,” Nannie Hogan Boyd Trust, Nations Bank of Texas. $90,000.
    Principal Investigator: “Functional Brain Imaging in Children after Brain Injury,” National Paralysis Foundation, 4/1/98 – 3/31/99, $150,000.
    Principal Investigator: “Discourse Processing in Neurologically Impaired

    Click to access CV.pdf


  9. Anon

    The discipline and science of speech pathology is very different from speech communication.