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Sahuarita Unified introduces neuroscience education program in hopes of preventing head injuries

Sahuarita Unified School District classroom
Posted at 7:04 AM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 00:22:48-04

SAHUARITA, Ariz. (KGUN) — Inside a 7th grade classroom in Sahuarita, students channeled their creativity.

"They are doing a build-a-brain project. They're using Play-Doh to create brains," said Certified Brain Injury Specialist with the Sahuarita Unified School District, Sarah Dachtyl.

With Play-Doh students formed the different parts of the brain and learn about what happens when it becomes injured.

"Since 2014, we've had over 450 concussions reported to us that we have managed. It varies from year to year how many students we'll see," said Dachtyl.

Dachtyl works with students in the Sahuarita Unified School District after they have suffered a concussion. Over the last seven years, she said it has become apparent that kids need to know more about their brains and how to prevent serious injury.

"We want them to learn about their brains so they make healthy choices. We want them to learn how to protect their brains so they can learn to the best of their potential," said Dachtyl.

A new program to address these topics is being launched at Anza Trail K-8 School, this week. It's a part of the district's Cognitive Return to Exertion (CoRTEx) program, which launched in 2014.

"I learned about how the brain works and the different parts of the brain," said 7th grade student, Alanis Machado.

"The cerebellum creates balance and coordination. The front of the your forehead is for planning and thinking," said 7th grade student, Alexandra Rodriguez.

Students will continue to learn more about the brain throughout the year, but teachers wanted to start off strong as Fall sports begin and the risk for injury increases.

"This year it will be in K-8. We'll look at the data to see if it was effective. If it is, we'll look at other grade levels also," said Dachtyl.

The district's goal is to eventually expand the program to the high school level.