Palo Alto, CA (January 24, 2020) – Today, CrashCourse by TeachAids, Pop Warner Little Scholars, and USA Football are launching an interactive virtual reality program to improve national education and youth safety around concussions in football and other sports.
The CrashCourse VR interactive educational software, developed in collaboration between TeachAids and Stanford University, allows learners to feel completely immersed in a high school football game and experience the consequences that follow a concussion. VR is quickly becoming a popular medium for training on a variety of topics and has demonstrated improved learning effects over traditional educational approaches. CrashCourse VR builds on this, with a research-based pedagogical methodology and curriculum developed by TeachAids through research at Stanford. The software is available to anyone, with specialized applications in classrooms, hospitals, and sports museums, in addition to general use. It is available for free download for Oculus Rift and Oculus Go on the Oculus store.
With millions of youth playing football across the US, TeachAids has partnered with Pop Warner and USA Football to connect with and educate youth athletes about the importance of head safety and properly diagnosing and treating concussions. This partnership builds on their previous successful collaborations with TeachAids on the initial version of the CrashCourse curriculum, which was distributed as a standard HD video. In 2018, Pop Warner Little Scholars was the first partner organization to distribute the initial CrashCourse video to their 325,000 participants. In 2019, USA Football was the first organization to provide an official “Certificate of Completion” for all youth athletes who successfully finish the CrashCourse curriculum. The curriculum stands among the highest-rated courses within USA Football's online course library and has already been delivered more than 9,000 times since June 2019.
In celebration of these partnerships with the nation’s leading youth football organizations, TeachAids is making this joint announcement during the 2020 USA Football First Down Clinics presented by ESPN at the NFL’s Pro Bowl in Orlando, which kickoff on Jan. 23. First Down introduces kids and parents to football in a fun, free and friendly format, ensuring that it’s a game before it’s a sport. Hundreds of clinics through USA Football’s First Down program are conducted annually nationwide and serve as a young athlete’s first step into the Football Development Model.
“In distributing CrashCourse VR to youth players and coaches, we are seeing just how important and dynamic these materials are,” said CEO & Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck. “Starring college football players, the VR software offers new opportunities to educate youth athletes in a language they can relate to.”
“By integrating the most up-to-date medical knowledge with state-of-the-art technology, TeachAids has developed a uniquely engaging and effective way to ingrain healthy behaviors in our youth,” says Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “As an organization that is constantly developing new approaches to advance safety for our players, we are proud to be partnering with TeachAids to provide materials that are fundamentally different from other educational models that have been created before.”
This announcement closely follows the adoption of the CrashCourse curriculum by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association. This mandate requires students and parents across all sports to view CrashCourse concussion education video prior to each season.
The launch of CrashCourse VR promises to enhance engagement with materials and learning effects. Through years of iterative user testing, TeachAids discovered that VR felt more personal and removed outside distractions, increasing learners’ willingness and ability to learn and adopt healthy behaviors. Through a special partnership, CrashCourse VR has been piloted and is already in use across the state of Arkansas.
“VR is an incredibly powerful medium with proven ability to increase empathy and change behavior,” explained Dr. Piya Sorcar, CEO of TeachAids. “In this digital native generation, we are excited to be among the first to use the uniquely immersive features of VR to help solve important health issues. We hope that these educational materials will provide young football players, as well as youth in all sports, with the knowledge and tools necessary to keep themselves safer.”
Seed Funding for the CrashCourse initiative was provided by the Taube Stanford Concussion Collaborative.
To download CrashCourse VR at no charge on your Oculus Go or Oculus Rift/Rift S, please visit the Oculus Store.
To implement CrashCourse by TeachAids into your organization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
TeachAids is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social venture that creates breakthrough software addressing numerous persistent problems in health education around the world. CrashCourse is the second free health education program launched by TeachAids in collaboration with Stanford University, following the global success of its award-winning HIV/AIDS interactive software, which is used in 82 countries around the world. For more information on TeachAids visit TeachAids.org or follow us on Twitter @TeachAids, Facebook @TeachAids, YouTube at TeachAids, and Instagram at @teachaids.
About USA Football
USA Football designs and delivers premier educational, developmental and competitive programs to advance and grow the sport. As the sport’s national governing body, member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and organizer of the U.S. National Team for international competition, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Learn more at usafootball.com and follow USA Football on Twitter and Facebook @usafootball and Instagram @usa_football.
About Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
Founded in 1929 and headquartered in Langhorne, PA, Pop Warner Little Scholars is the nation’s oldest youth football, cheerleading and dance organization and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation. Pop Warner participants enjoy the opportunity to learn and compete in their sports in an atmosphere that emphasizes fun, safety, academics and character. For more information on Pop Warner and its programs visit popwarner.com or follow Pop Warner on Twitter @Pop_Warner, Facebook @PopWarnerLittleScholars, Instagram @popwarnerlittlescholars and Snap @popwarner1929.