Student-athletes are using their brains to absorb subjects like sponges so they can excel in school. But what happens to their brain when impacts, falls, or whiplash occurs during a practice or competition? Do kids and teens know how to recognize if they’ve got a concussion?

You’ve heard of the saying – knowledge is power. American Youth Football & Cheer, a nationwide youth football and cheer organization, knows this well. In an effort to equip their athletes with brain-saving information, they’re partnering with TeachAids for a CrashCourse in concussion education to help 1 million young athletes protect their brain.

How will they do this? The football and cheer organization and TeachAids are using a virtual reality simulation to help kids learn how to recognize concussion symptoms. Learning by example is what kids do best. With the Concussion CrashCourse they get information directly from Stanford University researchers and specialists and have coaches and athletes who have life experience they’ll want to listen to.

Football plays such a huge role in American culture,” stated Joe Galat, President and Founder of American Youth Football. “If we want to keep the tradition of the sport alive, we need to start to educate our players from the moment they step onto the field. At AYF, we believe proper training enriches the experience for players, competitors, and spectators alike.”

“That is why we are proud to expand our concussion education programs by partnering with TeachAids to implement CrashCourse in the coming year. Given what we know about concussions today, the younger we teach these athletes the better.”

Parents and coaches can’t be on the field or in the helmet with kids and teens. So how will young athletes know what to look for when they get hit in the head, fall to the ground, or get sacked by a linebacker? The VR experience helps kids go through and role-play different situations that bring about concussions.

Kids then make decisions and then learn how to detect possible injury from making mistakes and seeing things from the perspective of a player like them. They go through learning exercises and sitdowns with experienced athletes who have practiced and played on the field and have spent time in the doctor’s office.

“Sports like football can help kids learn the fundamental values of discipline, teamwork and self-esteem,” explained Matt Birk, 6 time Pro Bowl selection and 2012 Super Bowl Champion with the Baltimore Ravens.

“As a former member of the NFL and someone who has championed those values for young players throughout my career, I can say with confidence that CrashCourse is a monumental first step toward understanding concussions starting with society’s most important demographic. This program quite literally changes the game.”

By having athletes who have been on the field and in the doctor’s office from head injuries, student-athletes are more likely to listen and absorb the information given to them. More than 2.5 million of America’s youth will be diagnosed with a concussion and by connecting them to the latest in VR technology, TeachAids and Youth Football & Cheer are getting ahead of brain injuries that could cost kids their memory, mental state, and health down the road.