New technology offers on-field head injury, concussion reporting

Former NCAA football player and youth coach Charlie Wund suffered his share of head injuries during his years on the field.

"Absolutely, I've had a number of concussions -- that I can remember," Wund told CBS News. When asked if he got the treatment he needed, Wund did not have to think long about the answer: "Absolutely not," he said.

That's why he wanted to do something to help protect the next generation of athletes. Wund has helped develop a web-based system called InjureFree, which allows users to report head injuries or concussion symptoms the moment they happen on the field. The data is then sent electronically to a medical professional for follow-up.

"We're able to create a standard level of care for all children," Wund said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 170,000 children are treated in emergency rooms each year for sports- or recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.

As awareness has spread in recent years of the serious effects of such head trauma -- which include impaired thinking or memory, or problems with movement, sensation, or emotional functioning such as personality changes and depression -- there's been an increased focus on monitoring and preventing concussions in youth sports.

Some health professionals are pushing for a federal mandate for sports injury reporting standards. Since 2009, every state has passed a concussion reporting law. But so far, Congress has not created a national registry to standardize treatment and prevention.

Wund's InjureFree system is part of a half-million dollar concussion prevention program being rolled out at Washington D.C. schools and recreation centers, not only to increase reporting, but to provide awareness training to students, parents, and coaches.

At a news conference Tuesday, Dr. Michael Yochelson of MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital said information needs to be recorded immediately every time a child takes a hit to the head.

"You want to understand how to prevent chronic long-term effects and save lives," he said.

For Wund, this work allows him to help make sure current student athletes get the kind of speedy treatment he did not receive. "This certainly gives me peace of mind," he said.