What is New Tough?

New Tough is a campaign that challenges athletes to handle concussions properly. As athletes, we understand the traditional toughness required for competition; be it coming back from a bad play, finishing a difficult workout or diving to block a shot, toughness is considered to be a mark of greatness. Because of this, the big hits are often glorified and playing through injury is applauded. 

This mentality poses a problem when it comes to concussions. The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council concluded that the culture of sports negatively influences concussion reporting and that athletes, coaches and parents do not fully acknowledge the risks of playing while injured (31).

We’re here to change that by introducing a new type of toughness.

It is the toughness to go against your instinct as an athlete and put your brain-health first.
It is the strength to report concussion symptoms, and it is the patience to complete recovery before returning to the game you love.
It is the courage to speak up for brain-injured teammates and offer support while they heal. 
And it is the integrity to play the game within the rules by avoiding illegal hits to the head or neck, no matter how high the stakes or emotions. 

What is the New Tough Pact?  

Our New Tough Pact is a commitment that encourages athletes to:

1. Report possible concussion symptoms and stay patient during recovery.

A recent study illustrated that athletes who continued to play with symptoms took nearly twice as long to recover than those immediately removed from play (13). 

Reporting concussion symptoms right away could speed up your recovery process. Put your health first, and then get back in the game! 

2. Encourage brain-injured teammates to seek help and offer support while they heal.

Factors such as depression and anxiety are linked to concussion (8).

Recovery can sometimes be a long, unpredictable, and isolating road.  Reach out and let an injured teammate know he or she is not alone!

3. Play the game within its rules. Avoid illegal hits from behind, to the head and neck.

Twenty-five percent of concussions result from aggressive or illegal play (18). 

Physicality may be part of the game, but compete within the rules and play smart. Many of the worst injuries occur when an unexpected and illegal hit takes place.

Click here to make the pact and Become a New Tough Athlete

What is the New Tough Concussion Awareness Campaign?

Highlights from the 2018 Concussion Awareness Weekend

The goal of the Concussion Awareness Week is to promote a safer sports culture surrounding concussions through Headway’s ‘New Tough’ Campaign, spread awareness, and provide educational resources for student-athletes.

Concussion Awareness Week provides a platform for athletes to unite in creating a positive mental shift in athletes' approach to concussions. Headway encourages an athlete-to-athlete, peer-to-peer approach. During our 2018 Concussion Awareness Weekend February 2-4, over 100 professional, collegiate, high school, and youth sports teams took part in the event. Professional players and collegiate student-athletes have the opportunity to serve as leaders during this initiative and hopefully have a positive influence on youth and high school athletes who simultaneously take part in the event. The 2019 Concussion Awareness Week will take place Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2019. Register your team now here.

Check out some of our 2018 Concussion Awareness Weekend participants here: http://headwayfoundation.com/new-tough-team-pics

Watch some New Tough team videos here: http://headwayfoundation.com/new-tough-team-videos

Athletes can take the Pact and become New Tough here: http://headwayfoundation.com/new-tough-athlete/

Click here to see our sources.