By Scott Livingston
Concussions among athletes are one of the most challenging aspects of sports medicine today. Several high-profile collegiate and professional athletes have been in the media in recent months, raising awareness about the risks involved in contact sports and the need for improved methods for recognizing and treating the concussed athlete.
A concussion is more than just a "bump on the head” – it is a mild traumatic brain injury that must be reported amongst coaches, parents and health care providers. Knowledgeable health care personnel can determine the severity of the injury, make appropriate recommendations for further examination and treatment, and monitor recovery from injury.
Unfortunately, most concussions go unrecognized and unreported. Athletes want to continue to play and may not recognize the seriousness of their injury. Too many players (and coaches and parents) still refer to concussions as being "dinged" or “getting your bell rung” – terminology which undermines the symptoms and potential consequences of the injury.
Despite significant research efforts addressing concussions in sports over the past several decades, myths and misconceptions persist among athletes, coaches, parents and even health care professionals.
As part of its mission to educate the public, the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience will host a “Town Hall” meeting focusing on sports-related concussions from 6:30-9 p.m. today in the William T. Young Library Auditorium on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The forum is open to all members of the public and is specifically targeted to coaches, parents, athletes, athletic trainers, team physicians, and others who care for and supervise athletes at all levels of sport.
Refreshments will be served at 6:30, followed by several brief presentations beginning at 7. An open question-and-answer discussion will immediately follow. Selected topics will be addressed by a panel of UK faculty, researchers, and clinicians. These topics will include the on-field diagnosis and assessment of concussion, the basic science of concussion, and the medical management of concussions. The event will be moderated by Dr. Edward D. Hall, Director of UK’s Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Center.
The Society for Neuroscience is a non-profit membership organization of over 400,000 scientists and physicians from around the world who study the brain and nervous system. The Bluegrass Chapter serves Fayette County and Central Kentucky and strives to help members network, share information, and educate the public about neuroscience on the local level.
For more information about the town hall event, please contact Melinda Wilson at (859) 323-9618, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott Livingston, an athletic trainer and sports physical therapist who specializes in sports concussion evaluation and management, is an assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Kentucky