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VIDEO Sport Safety International Executive Director Dr. Robb Rehberg, appears on Rep. Pascrell’s “To the Point”

U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, today released the latest installment of  “To the Point” entitled “Fair Play: Protecting our student athletes from sports-related concussions”, in which he discusses the dangers of concussions in youth sports and how we can better protect our youngest athletes on the playing field. 

Guests include Niki Popyer, a former high school athlete from Marlboro, NJ who sustained multiple sports-related concussions; Dr. Robb Rehberg, Executive Director of Sport Safety International, and; Dr. Seth Stoller, Neurology Chief for the Concussion Center at the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute at Overlook Hospital in Summit. Watch the Video

Heading off danger: Concussions and teens

It’s a hot July afternoon, just before a thunderstorm. The Bonnette family is in the living room next to a fan, discussing schedules. 17-year-old Giuliana Bonnette plays the right side position for the varsity volleyball team at Dominion High School in Sterling. She is now recovered from two concussions she suffered in the spring.

“It started out as just a really bad headache, and a little bit of confusion,” Bonnette said.

These were Giuliana Bonnette’s symptoms after her first concussion 6 months ago. Her head slammed against the ground during volleyball tryouts. It was first diagnosed as whiplash.

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Concussions Persist From High School To Pros, But More Is Known

From high school through the pros, Mecklenburg’s experience with football was different than what you see today; concussions were rarely talked about and instead of getting fines for hits to the head, the act was encouraged.

“To play the game at the level that is played in college and [the NFL], you have to have a bit of recklessness in you. You have to have pain tolerance; you have to be somebody that’s not concerned about the future,” Mecklenburg explains.

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Concussion Symptoms Continue Long After Injury

Symptoms such as headache, dizziness and blurry vision typically show up right after a child suffers a concussion. In a study from the emergency medicine division at Boston Children’s Hospital, researchers have found that emotional and mental symptoms, such as irritability and frustration may show up much later and hang around longer.

 “Patients and their families should expect the physical symptoms that they experience after a head injury to get better over the next few weeks, but that emotional symptoms may come on later, even as the physical symptoms subside,” said lead researcher Dr. Matthew Eisenberg.

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Bringing Student Athletes Back From Concussions

Since 2011, the all-boys’ private school, generally known as St. Mike’s, has been running programs in partnership with the David L. MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic at the University of Toronto to support the recovery of student athletes who have sustained concussions, known medically as mild traumatic brain injuries.

The progressive programs, Return to Learn and Return to Play, are spearheaded by Barbara Csenge, the director of student enrichment at St. Mike’s, and Dr. Michael Hutchison, the director of the university clinic’s concussion program.

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Baseline Neurocognitive Testing in Sports-Related Concussions: the Importance of a Prior Night’s Sleep.

In completing baseline neurocognitive testing, it is particularly important that the athlete be alert, well-
rested and sleep adequately the night before testing. However, the role of sleep in the baseline testing
process has never been formally investigated. Therefore, the recent study by McClure et al. provides
very timely and important information. The abstract for this paper is presented below. We recommend the
full article to all ImPACT clients.

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The Concussion Crisis Is Deadlier Than Ever — Can Tech Solve It?

The technology surrounding concussions is fundamentally changing.

First, advancements in testing technology allow researchers to more deeply understand an athlete’s recovery process. They’ve discovered an athlete can still suffer from a TBI months after the incident, much longer than previously thought. Often, the athlete isn’t even aware he’s still recovering. He may feel fine, even if his brain is not.

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Private schools in California must comply with concussion rules

A new state law in California will hold private and charter schools to the same sports safety standards as public schools.

Assembly Bill 588 was signed into law in September 2013 and went into effect Jan. 1. The bill stipulates that if a student in a school athletic activity is suspected of suffering a head injury during practice or a game, that student may not play for the rest of the day.

 The athlete may only return to sports and training after being evaluated by a doctor who is experienced in treating concussions.

Indiana bill would require concussion training, waiting period for football

Indiana could soon become the first state to require high school football coaches to take part in a player safety and concussion-training course.

Senate Bill 222 — authored by Sen. Travis Holdman, R–Markle — would require the course every two years.

“We’d be very proud to do this since USA Football, an arm of the NFL and players union is basically housed” in Indianapolis, Holdman said.

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Power Down to Speed Concussion Recovery: Study

Young people who suffer a concussion often want to return to school and begin using electronics right away, but resuming everyday life too quickly might delay recovery, researchers say.

 Kids who give their brains a few days’ rest and gradually return to normal mental activity heal faster than those who rush back to their books, computers and TVs, a new study suggests.