TMH event in Craig to educate about concussion treatment, prevention | CraigDailyPress.com

TMH event in Craig to educate about concussion treatment, prevention

Lauren Blair

As the sports season heats up for young athletes in Craig, the chances of injuries increase, and The Memorial Hospital is raising awareness about one affliction in particular — head concussions.

On Friday morning, TMH will hold a presentation on concussions hosted by Karen McAvoy, a doctor of psychology and director of the Center for Concussion with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

"With sports starting and school back in session, we wanted to provide a refresher on concussion awareness and education," TMH Chief of Marketing and Business Development Jennifer Riley said.

Facilitated via WebEx, the event will help educate local health care providers, school personnel and community members about the importance of recognizing and treating head injuries.

The discussion will center around a system known as REAP — Remove/Reduce, Educate, Adjust/Accommodate, and Pace.

Two local organizations — Craig Concussion Action Team and Moffat County School District's Traumatic Brain Injury Team — have been working in recent years to bring awareness to the harmful effects that concussions can have on individuals, especially children.

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TMH Rehabilitation Services Manager Luke Geer, PT, DPT, is a member of CCAT and is in charge of administering return-to-play protocols for young athletes in the community. In other words, he helps create the guidelines that determine when it is safe for kids to jump back in the game after a head injury.

"If they didn't recover fully from the first concussion and go out and get a second concussion, it can result in very traumatic effects for the brain, called second impact syndrome," Geer said. "We're looking at permanent changes in kids."

The worst-case scenario is death — which, unfortunately, happens every year in the United States, Geer said. Severe brain damage is another possible result.

"If you don't manage it well, it can result in catastrophic changes," Geer added.

Although concussions among football players — professionals and youths — have been attracting a lot of national attention lately, Geer said that local providers also see concussions in children that happen during recess and physical education class as well as in bicycling incidents and other sports like soccer.

Research shows that kids take longer to recover from concussions than adults do, and they often need special attention as they return to school and normal routines following a head injury, Geer said.

"A lot of them can't tolerate a whole day of school," he said. "They can be set off by light, noise and overstimulation."

CCAT's mission is "to prevent and improve the outcomes of TBI in Moffat County and surrounding communities" through education about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of TBI, according to an Moffat County School District website dedicated to the cause.

The organization has given out countless bicycle helmets in an effort to reduce major head injuries from bicycle accidents.

The presentation Friday comes in time to remind school personnel, coaches and area health care providers of the signs and symptoms of concussion, as well as the proper protocols for treatment.

Invitations have gone out to school districts in Meeker, Hayden and Baggs, Wyoming.

"Our community has become very impassioned about it," Riley said. "We're trying to get as many people here as can be here."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.