From supporting solid research to helping members make well-informed decisions, the NCAA is devoted to keeping college athletes safe, healthy and ready to compete – on the field of play, in their college classrooms and in their future careers. Together with its Sport Science Institute, the NCAA collaborates with experts to develop guidance to ensure college athletes are getting the best care possible – and to keep schools educated along the way.

Cardiac arrest is one of the most common causes of death among athletes. The NCAA has worked with leading sports medicine groups across the country to develop recommendations for both preventing and reacting to cardiac arrest among student-athletes while also broadening the scope of cardiovascular care.

Proper reporting, diagnosis and treatment of a concussion is crucial, and science has more to learn about the condition. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, the NCAA is helping to fund a $30 million effort that launched the most comprehensive clinical study of concussion and head impact ever conducted coupled with education and research initiatives aimed at changing the culture surrounding concussion. The NCAA also provides inter-association concussion guidelines

The NCAA has administered drug testing for banned drugs since 1986. But besides ensuring a safe and fair playing environment for participants, the NCAA also invests in programs that educate about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and researches the state of alcohol and other drug use among student-athletes.

College athletes can struggle with mental health issues – just like their nonathlete peers. The NCAA provides resources to help schools and student-athletes better understand how they can address these concerns, and it has partnered with leading organizations to develop best practices in support of student-athlete mental well-being. The goal: to create a culture in which reaching out for mental health care is as expected and accepted as seeking medical help when recovering from physical injury.

The NCAA supports nutrition education for student-athletes by providing information that translates current nutrition research into practical strategies based on the idea that whole foods and proper hydration help enhance athletic performance and health.

College athletes are typically healthy, but participation in sports brings an unavoidable risk of injury. Grounded in research, the NCAA develops safety guidelines, playing rules and best-practice standards to minimize those risks and provide student-athletes with their best chance at staying healthy during their playing days and beyond.

Interpersonal violence is a cultural phenomenon that is reflected on today’s college campuses. The NCAA identifies resources that support member schools’ athletics departments as they contribute to campus efforts to prevent and appropriately intervene in cases of sexual assault, hazing, harassment and abuse.

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7 Ways the NCAA Looks Out for College Athletes