Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pediatricans Weigh in on Concussion Risks

Warrenton pediatricians Joshua Jakum, M.D., and Michael Amster, M.D., agree that education on the subject of concussions is vital. To help educate coaches, parents and other physicians, Drs. Jakum and Amster will speak on Concussions in Athletics at 7 p.m., on Thursday, September 22 in Fauquier Hospital’s Sycamore Room.

Dr. Jakum says, “I am a youth lacrosse coach, and at a recent national convention, educating coaches and players about concussions was a major topic. Middle and high school athletic departments are required to have a plan in place to recognize and deal with concussions, and that is filtering down to recreational sports as well.”

A rugby player who has seen his share of concussions, Dr. Amster explains that a concussion is not necessarily due to a direct blow to the head. “It’s an injury caused when the brain is forced to move rapidly, like the snap of a head during a big hit. There is damage at the cellular level; the injury disrupts how the brain cells speak to one another. Children with concussions often have difficulty recalling old information and learning new information.”

Dr. Amster says, “For those younger than 21, if an athlete suffers a second concussion before fully recovering from an earlier one, it can cause the brain to swell and could result in significant brain damage.” Dr. Amster adds that only 40 percent of children who have suffered concussions are fully recovered after a week.

Dr. Jakum says, “If there is an injury, it’s important that the athlete is pulled off the field immediately and evaluated. Recognizing a concussion requires attention by coaches, athletic trainers and knowledgeable parents.”

Signs of a Concussion
• Appears dazed or stunned
• Is confused about assignment or position
• Forgets an instruction
• Is unsure of game, score or opponent
• Moves clumsily
• Answers questions slowly
• Loses consciousness (even briefly)
• Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
• Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
• Can’t recall events after hit or fall

Signs of a Concussion that
May Be Reported by an Athlete
• Headache or pressure in head
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems or dizziness
• Double or blurry vision
• Sensitivity to light
• Sensitivity to noise
• Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
• Concentration or memory problems
• Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down”

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