DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY TAKES THE #TTPLEDGE DURING CONCUSSION AWARENESS WEEK

The U.S. Soccer Development Academy's opening weekends are in the books. In addition to the 750 games played (558 Boys', 192 Girls'), Recognize to Recover and ThinkTaylor brought the #TTPledge to more than 17,000 Development Academy players over the course of Concussion Awareness Week.

The ThinkTaylor Pledge is an oath from athletes to be educated on concussion symptoms, to be honest in their self-evaluation of concussions and to be supportive of anyone with a concussion. The organization was founded by former Men's National Team player Taylor Twellman after he was forced to retire from professional soccer due to post-concussion syndrome.

MORE: Recognize to Recover, Presented by Thorne, And ThinkTaylor Partner for Concussion Awareness Week During Development Academy Opening Weekends

Two live stream feature games bookended the week. The first marked the launch of the Girls' Academy in Somerset, N.J. on Saturday, Sept. 2. Before the game between Sky Blue - PDA (Somerset, N.J.) and FC Virginia (Chantilly, Va.), both squads took the pledge, with Twellman on hand as an Honorary Captain.

Throughout the week, clubs across the country continued to take the #TTPledge:

Northfield, Illinois' FC United Academy:

Real So Cal of Woodland Hills, Calif.:

Seven days later, two Columbus Crew SC affiliate teams capped off the week in Columbus, Ohio for another live streamed game on Saturday, Sept. 9. Crew SC Academy (Columbus, Ohio) and Crew SC Academy Wolves (Wixom, Mich.) took the pledge with Twellman in attendance before the first Boys' Academy feature game of the season.

ThinkTaylor is dedicated to changing the culture of traumatic brain injuries and aims to dispel the notion of concussions as something to "shake off" or play through, and establish protocol of handling brain injuries with the utmost seriousness.

"There were times in my career I wasn't honest with my coaches, my parents, my teammates, and it only made things worse," said Twellman. "When you recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and you do something about it, you are already on the road to recovery. That's why it's so important to me that athletes are educated and honest about concussions. We only have one brain and it needs to last a lifetime."

Recognize to Recover, presented by Thorne, is a first-of-its-kind comprehensive program dedicated to safe play and reducing injuries. Launched by U.S Soccer in 2015, the initiative was developed with the help of medical experts to provide coaches, players, parents and referees with information, guidance and educational materials to improve the prevention and management of injuries.