Detroit Public School Community District Athletic Symposium: Safeguarding Tomorrow’s Athletes

September 18, 2023


By Tina Chen

Dr. Abigail Bretzin and Ms. Michaela Broadnax represented the U-M Concussion Center at the Detroit Public School Community District’s (DPSCD) Athletic Symposium in [month]. This event saw the participation of approximately 180 coaches from the district, who gathered to deepen their understanding of best practices and techniques to ensure the safety and well-being of student-athletes. “The symposium was a great opportunity to meet with the leaders of DPSCD, and interact with the coaches and athletic coordinators of each school,” said Dr. Bretzin, “the structure of the overall symposium went very well and allowed each participant to contribute to the discussion regarding concussion recognition and management.”

The Concussion Center’s growing partnership with DPSCD started in the Spring of 2020 where a joint grant application on concussion was submitted. A comprehensive Concussion Toolkit was later launched in the spring of 2022, designed to assist the district’s coaches, students, parents and administrators with concussion management by providing educational materials and resources tailored to the district’s requirements.

The concussion-related information disseminated during this year’s Athletic Symposium relayed the most relevant information to coaches who often play a pivotal role in identifying early signs and symptoms of concussions.  The primary objective for the symposium was to foster a dialogue, emphasizing the intricacies of concussions – the physiological changes they trigger in the brain and the inherent risks of overlooking or trivializing the injury. “The coaches were great at keeping the conversation going,” Broadnax shared, “I was able to learn from their day-to-day experiences with their student-athletes and how they combat head injuries during practices and games. They are an amazing group of people, and our team looks forward to future opportunities to engage with DPSCD coaches, athletes, and administrators.”

“I  am so thankful to the University of Michigan Concussion Center for their continued partnership with DPSCD athletics. With their help, our coaches and staff are better equipped to help our student-athletes if they experience a concussion from start to finish.  In addition, they have given us a roadmap to better recognize, understand, care, provide, and how to get follow-up care regarding concussions”

Jay Alexander, Executive Director of DPSCD Office of Athletics

Over 120 coaches were in attendance at the Detroit Public Schools Community District-wide athletic coaches and administrator’s symposium.  “It was a great opportunity to have Michigan Concussion Center teaching classroom sessions.  Our coaches raved about what they learned and how to provide care for our student-athletes”, said Alexander.

Ongoing education and open dialogue are important in ensuring the safety of our young athletes. The partnership between the U-M Concussion Center and DPSCD not only signifies a step forward in concussion awareness but also underscores the collective commitment of educators, coaches, and healthcare professionals to the well-being of student-athletes. As we continue to arm those on the front line with the knowledge and resources needed, we remain hopeful for a future where student-athletes can pursue their passions with minimized risks and maximized support. 

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