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Concussions and youth will be focus on Jan. 22nd seminar

Brain injuries in teens can cause permanent damage.
Brain injuries in teens can cause permanent damage.
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“Sports Concussions: Facts, Fallacies and New Frontiers” is a seminar that invites coaches, athletic directors, school nurses administrators and counselors to learn about the realities of head injuries in youth athletics. The seminar is being held at the Gladstone Community Center, 6901 N. Holmes St., from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on January 22. The seminar is free, but one must register ahead of time. Registration can be done online at www.biamo.org under the Events heading (Hellman 5).

The topic of head injuries and concussions has been in the news recently because the family of Kansas City Chief Javon Belcher, who killed his girlfriend and then himself in December of 2012, had his body exhumed last month to have his brain examined to find out if head injuries caused his fatal behavior. Now, the Brain Injury Association of Missouri feels that the topic needs more attention, especially regarding youth in sports (Hellman 5).

This session will include: “An overview of sports-related concussions, a review of concussion management in relation to the roles of ‘team units’, a discussion of Missouri’s concussion law, resources available and personal experiences of athletes” (Hellman 5).

This seminar is based on a new booklet titled, “Concussion Management: The Team Plan”, by Joseph F Waeckerle, a doctor who is a clinical professor at the University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Medicine and editor emeritus of the Journal Annals of Emergency Medicine. One of the fallacies that the booklet and the seminar dispels that an athlete has to lose consciousness in order to be considered for having a concussion or other traumatic brain injury.

Waeckerle also explains that an athlete does not have to suffer a ‘hard’ injury in order to sustain a concussion and that there is no one medical test that can diagnose a concussion. Instead, athletes must undergo a variety of tests regarding brain function and balance in a doctor’s office, not on a sideline (Hellman 5).

Ultimately, caring for athletes who may have sustained brain injuries is now a law in Missouri. In 2011, Missouri lawmakers passed the Missouri State Interscholastic Youth Sports Brain Injury Prevention Act. This seminar will go a long way in educating those who work with teens regarding concussions and brain injuries.

Hellman, Rick. “Seminar Next Week to Focus on Youth and Concussions.” The Kansas City Star. January 15, 2014: Section 816 Local; Pg. 5.