August 17, 2012
Kewanee Hospital Rehabilitation Services staff members recently presented a program on Concussion Management to teachers at Kewanee High School. Lori Christiansen, Director of Rehabilitation Services at the hospital provided a brief introduction to the new Comprehensive Concussion Management Program. An educational session was then provided by Ian Swindler, Certified Athletic Trainer and Lisa Bridgewater, Speech/Language Pathologist.
Information provided in the presentation included signs/symptoms of concussions, ImPACT computerized concussion testing, the recovery process, identification of team members involved in a student-athlete’s safe return to both the classroom and to sport activities, potential cognitive changes that may affect classroom performance, strategies and accommodations that may be needed in the classroom, and effective team communication during the recovery period.
In response to the increasing concern regarding long-term effects of concussions, Kewanee Hospital has identified a significant need for community outreach to area athletes, parents, coaches, and school personnel. A Coaches’ Clinic was recently held at the Hospital and a Parent Education session will be scheduled in the near future.
“We are working to develop a strong support system and communication network among all of the individuals that may be involved in the athlete’s care,” Christiansen stated. “We want to have processes in place for communication to flow smoothly between home, school, and the medical setting, so that we can ensure that concussion care is comprehensive and consistent for the youth in our area.”
In addition, Kewanee Hospital Rehabilitation Services is now offering ImPACT™Concussion Testing. ImPACT™is a neurocognitive computerized test covering various aspects of cognitive functioning including verbal and visual memory, processing speed, and reaction time. It is the most widely used and scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system for ages 10 and over. Baseline testing is completed with healthy athletes and then follow-up testing is done after a concussion to determine whether cognition may have been impacted. The testing also assists with the decision-making process regarding further medical referrals and safe return to play.
The Kewanee Hospital Sports Medicine Team is currently in the process of completing baseline ImPACT™testing with all Kewanee High School athletes. Approximately 20-30 minutes is required for each test. At KHS, most students are being tested in groups in the school’s computer lab. In addition, all area school districts will be offered the opportunity to have their student-athletes evaluated for a minimal fee of $10 per student, which in most cases, will be paid by the parents of athletes consenting to testing for their children. Parents may also schedule testing at the hospital on an individual basis.
“It is essential that we react quickly to the mounting evidence regarding the dangers associated with concussions, particularly repeated concussions, in our young athletic population,” Christiansen added. “The tragedies that we are now seeing in the news among professional athletes, most notably, former NFL players, alert us to the great risks of not putting all possible protective measures in place and returning an athlete to play before the concussion recovery process is complete.”
“No parent, coach, or medical provider wants to be responsible for the possible devastating long-term consequences of putting an athlete back on the field or court before their brain has completed the healing process,” Christiansen said. “We feel strongly that ImPACT testing, which is currently being used by all of MLB, NFL, NHL, and WWE, as well as thousands of colleges and high schools across the country, is an assessment tool that can significantly help medical providers measure an individual’s recovery from a concussion.”
For more information on Kewanee Hospital’s Concussion Management Program, call Rehabilitation Services at 309-852-7931.
Photo attached separately: Ian Swindler, ATC/L, Certified Athletic Trainer and Lisa Bridgewater, Speech-Language Pathologist from Kewanee Hospital Rehab Services, present to Kewanee teachers during a recent institute.