Dr. Zachary (Zack) Kerr is the Research Director for the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes and an Assistant Professor in the department of Exercise and Sport Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Zack previously served as the Director of the NCAA Injury Surveillance Program and has published more than 75 research articles related to injury surveillance. I came across his work after seeing the Vox video featured below, which highlights former USA women's hockey player, Josephine Pucci and her struggle with post concussion syndrome. In this episode Zack teaches us the in's and out's of sports injury research and how to look at it both objectively, intelligently and effectively. Below you will find a list of other topics we touch on throughout our conversation:
“You can have the data tell the story you want it to.”
What is Epidemiology? the study of what hurts or kills you and what we can do to prevent what hurts and kills us.
How Zack got into sports injuries while at The Ohio State University.
How our perception of injuries can be skewed by the media and why the media can be a double-edged sword when it comes to sports safety.
Zack's thoughts on states banning tackle football in the wake of research publications on CTE.
The Haddon Approach to injury prevention.
CTE found in 99% of studied brains from deceased NFL players, how to look at this study objectively?
Why injury surveillance is so complicated and the challenges that exist with data collection.
The role of athletic trainers in injury surveillance.
The difficulty with surveillance in the pros and in youth sports.
How to effectively implement injury prevention interventions based on research.
What defines an injury?
"Concussions are like Snow Flakes."
Why the delayed onset of concussion symptoms make epidemiology difficult.
Risk vs. Rate and why you should care.
The numbers parents, policy makers and coaches should focus on.
How to be an informed consumer of research : PROMPT
Injury prevention framework : Identify, research the problem, develop prevention strategies, analyze how things have changed, repeat.
Why we might be jumping the gun with CTE prevention strategies.
The socioeconomics of USA Football's Heads Up program and the health disparity gap it might be creating – why proper implementation of interventions is important.
Why we shouldn’t try to reinvent the wheel when trying to implement injury prevention interventions.
Social influencer's role in injury prevention and how it relates to HIV prevention – The beginnings of a cultural shift.
Gender differences and concussions.
Why we should focus our attention on sports other than football when is comes to concussions.
What The Center For The Study of Retired Athletes is working on to today.
The life after sports project Zack is working with our episode 90 guest, Neha Uberoi
How Zack's dog keeps him balanced.
The tremendous respect Zack has gained for athletes throughout his career.
Why Zack is most excited for further exploring injuries at the youth level.