Providing Health for the Home Team
As a teacher or athletic director who works with student athletes – or someone that may have a child of your own who plays contact sports – here’s something you should be aware of. According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, concussion rates for U.S. high school athletes have doubled the past decade. In fact, more young people between the ages of 10 to 25 are experiencing concussions than ever before.
What’s especially troubling is that many concussions go undiagnosed. That puts the child at greater risk for permanent neurological damage if he or she has a subsequent head injury. Youths are especially vulnerable to Second Impact Syndrome, a second concussive event that occurs prior to complete healing from a prior event. Second Impact Syndrome can ultimately lead to severe complications.
Not all concussions come from a blow to the head. Head injuries can also be caused by a jarring event or a quick turn of the head. If a child suffers any type of head injury, pay attention to the following symptoms and seek medical attention:
• Blurry vision
• Difficulty thinking
• Nausea or vomiting
• Balance problems
• Sensitivity to light or noise
It’s important for the child to get a quick diagnosis so treatment can be started promptly. Fortunately, you can access state-of-the-art concussion services at the Allegheny Health Network Concussion Center.
Unlike many other healthcare providers that treat concussions, the Allegheny Health Network Concussion Center is a comprehensive program that combines the expertise of specialists in Sports Medicine, Neurosurgery and Neurology. Physicians from one of these three disciplines assess the child or adult who sustains the concussion and then coordinate their personalized care plans. When appropriate, other advanced medical specialists may participate in the concussion evaluation and management, including neuro-ophthalmologists, neuro-otologists (hearing and balance specialists), neuropsychologists, physiatrists or physical therapists.
In addition, Allegheny Health Network is the only area provider that is using C3 Logix technology to properly diagnose and manage concussions. This iPad-based symptom assessment tool is revolutionizing the way concussions are managed by clinicians.
“One of our goals is to make testing simpler to administer and interpret by creating portable technology that allows physicians and athletic trainers to assess student athletes quickly and appropriately,” said Craig Castor, Supervisor of Sports Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, part of the Allegheny Health Network. “C3 Logix is helping take concussion assessment to that next level beginning with baseline tests that are used to help determine return to play and activity following a concussion.”
Most schools, club teams, amateur teams and other organized contact sports groups require participants to obtain a concussion baseline test prior to participation. Many parents also have their child take a baseline concussion exam to err on the side of caution as biking, skateboarding or other normal recreational activities sometimes result in accidents involving head injuries.
If your team requires a concussion baseline test before tryouts, or if you would simply like to have your child take a baseline test, you can schedule a baseline test appointment online at www.ahn.org/events. Just scroll to any Wednesday evening and look for “C3 Logix Baseline Concussion Testing” at your preferred AHN testing facility and click on the Class Listing to register.
To contact the Allegheny Health Network Concussion Centers, call 412.359.3895.