Heads Up! Free Head Injury Management Clinic: August 23
MADISON-Take concussions seriously or risk serious and permanent brain damage.
UW Health Sports Medicine physicians and staff want to be sure Dane County athletes get that message.
On Monday, August 23, UW Health Sports Medicine will host "Heads Up! Head Injury Management in Youth Athletes," a free clinic for parents and coaches. The clinic will take place from 6 to 8pm in room 1111A of the UW Health Sports Medicine Clinic, 621 Science Drive.
Can't Attend? Follow Live Online
We'll post updates from the clinic on our Twitter feed and through a live blog.
Learn to Identify Subtle Symptoms of Concussions
The purpose of the clinic is to make sure parents and coaches understand concussion and can recognize its symptoms-both obvious and obscure.
"This is an injury to the brain that not only can cause headaches or dizziness but also may result in long-lasting thinking problems," says David Bernhardt, MD, a UW Health Sports Medicine physician who treats concussions in youth athletes. "Coaches and parents may have a difficult time detecting some of the subtle cognitive symptoms associated with the more obvious physical complaints."
For the past several years, UW Health Sports Medicine staff has been using an online test called ImPACT to collect baseline data about an athlete's cognitive skills before the season. When an athlete has a concussion, the pre-injury data can be compared with post-injury data, giving doctors an objective measurement of whether an athlete is ready to return to play.
That's critical, since young athletes aren't always honest about their symptoms. Joe Greene, manager of athletic training services for UW Health Sports Medicine, points to deceased Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry, whose brain at autopsy showed signs of brain damage consistent with multiple concussions despite not having a recorded concussion in his medical record.
"If older collegiate and professional athletes will play through an injury like this without reporting damage, what kind of message does that send to younger athletes?" Greene asks. "I truly hope that this culture is changing."
Bernhardt points out that in youth sports, especially at the recreational level, there isn't always a medical professional (athletic trainer, physician, nurse, etc) on the sideline. Parents who do not have medical training will have a difficult time evaluating these sometimes subtle injuries and don't always appreciate the problems that can be associated with them.
"A concussion is an injury to your brain, and our athletes are going to need their brains for the rest of their lives to remain productive members of society," says Bernhardt. "Any brain injury needs to be taken seriously."
Space is limited for the free Heads Up! Clinic. Register online
Date Published: 08/10/2010