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Mind Matters Challenge

A part of the NCAA and U.S. Department of Defense Grand Alliance, the Mind Matters Challenge is a $7 million education and research grand challenge aimed at changing important concussion safety behaviors.

The challenge focuses on two important areas related to concussion: changing attitudes about concussions in young adults (a long-term impact research challenge); and educational programs targeting young adults (an immediate impact education challenge).

Student-athletes often fail to report head injuries to medical personnel or their coaches, and as a result, they return to play before sufficiently recovering from a concussion. The reasons they fail to report are many: fear of letting down the team, peer pressure, and unspoken dynamics set by coaches or other stakeholders. There may be even more important factors that are not yet understood or easily identified.

The research challenge seeks to fund applied scientific research to improve understanding of how to prompt cultural change in the target communities. In addition to benefiting student-athletes on the field of play, the outcomes also will benefit military and civilian populations. Eight research grants of up to $400,000 each were awarded. Learn more about the eight Mind Matters Challenge research winners here.

The goal of the educational challenge is to identify entities with the expertise and capability to create compelling and impactful educational materials for student-athletes and other at-risk populations in the area of concussion education, based on the best information available today. Cash prizes up to $100,000 were awarded to six finalists in the educational programs challenge, who will also vie for the opportunity to collaborate with the NCAA to produce a detailed educational program in conjunction with other experts. Learn more about the six Mind Matters Challenge education finalists here