Jan. 19, 2012 – Some 3.8 million sports and recreation related concussions occur in the United States each year. A concussion is a brain injury caused by a bump or blow to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Those who play school or recreational sports, ranging from football, basketball, hockey and lacrosse to cheerleading or gymnastics are susceptible.
Hallmark Health System, the Official Healthcare Partner of the Boston Bruins, has teamed up with the 2011 Stanley Cup Champions to educate more than 1,000 student athletes, parents, coaches and athletic trainers on the signs, symptoms and management of concussions. “The Young Athlete” seminars cover how concussions occur, what happens in the brain, symptoms, prevention, treatment, management, return to play protocols and short and long term effects.
Now thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Boston Bruins Foundation, Hallmark Health System is offering advanced concussion education and testing. The organization recently purchased the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT), the most widely used computer-based neurocognitive testing program in the world. ImPACT is administered by trained healthcare professionals to assist in determining an athlete’s ability to return to play after suffering a concussion.
Baseline testing is a valuable tool in concussion management, as it establishes the brain’s “normal” level of functioning. Hallmark Health System offers this testing for individuals at its medical offices at 101 Main St. in Medford or at local high schools to test entire teams. The testing is administered by Hallmark Health System’s specially-trained athletic trainers and physical therapists for a nominal fee.
Hallmark Health System continues caring for patients post concussion with ongoing physical therapy. The multi-phase program addresses cardiovascular, strength, balance training as well as sports-specific movements to increase exercise tolerance without provoking concussive symptoms. Hallmark Health System physical therapists work closely with the patient’s athletic trainer and physician to ensure steady progress towards a safe return to play.
Steven Sbardella, MD, chairman of emergency medicine for Hallmark Health System, urges student athletes, parents and coaches to take concussions very seriously. He said signs and symptoms of concussion include confusion, loss of short-term memory, headaches, blurred vision, nausea and vomiting. Dr. Sbardella said treatment for concussion includes an evaluation in the hospital’s Emergency Department followed by a CAT scan and a follow-up appointment with a neurologist.
“Concussions are potentially very serious,” he stressed. “Anyone who has symptoms of a concussion should be taken out of the game immediately and be evaluated by a physician.”
For more information on advanced concussion education and testing, call 781-395-7750.
Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.