In April, The Bootleg covered the health and strength of Stanford football in 48-minute radio special. That podcast focused on the work of sports performance director Shannon Turley, team physician Dr. Jason Dragoo, and head trainer Steve Bartlinksi. It highlighted the trio's methods of innovative collaboration that have drastically cut Stanford football's injury rate and created a physically dominant product on the football field.
Now, we move to another aspect of health and safety on the football field, one that is of paramount importance. Here, too, Stanford is a leader in the innovative charge. Dr. Dan Garza, an assistant professor in orthopedic surgery at Stanford and medical director of the San Francisco 49ers, and Dr. David Camarillo, an assistant professor in bioengineering at Stanford, have teamed up to generate cutting-edge concussion research on The Farm. They've been thrilled to collaborate with David Shaw's program.
"It starts with Coach Shaw and you don't get individuals like him in many places," Garza said. "He brings to the team the spirit of Stanford, which is innovation, research, and intellectual curiosity."
Garza and Camarillo have worked to develop high-tech mouthguards for Stanford players that log the head impact of every hit on the football field. Their other efforts to eliminate the ambiguities surrounding diagnosis and treatment of concussions includes brain imaging and measures from blood serum.
After former Cardinal wide receiver Chris Owusu's frightening stretch of 2011 injuries, the specter of concussions on the football field has taken an even more prominent role in the psyche of the Stanford fan base. Owusu's troubles at Stanford, impending Pac-12 rule changes regarding contact, and recent NFL alumni tragedies that scientists believe may be linked to football head injuries make The Bootleg Radio's 45-minute discussion with Garza and Camarillo especially relevant.
As the preceding project with Dragoo, Turley, and Bartlinksi illustrated, collaboration between experts of different disciplines is a hallmark of Stanford football's success. Camarillo and Garza are displaying similar teamwork as they work toward a common goal.
"We want to get to a point where we can diagnose and prevent concussions," Camarillo said. "It's not going to be done solely in the clinical realm or the engineering realm. We have to understand each other's challenges and figure out how to work together to solve them."
David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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