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Summa Center for Sports Health Supports Efforts to Protect Student Athletes with Potential Concussions or Brain Injuries

Date: 03.14.2011
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar Phone: (330) 375-4930

Contact: Jennifer Farquhar, Phone: (330) 375-4930, Email: farquharj@summahealth.org

AKRON, Ohio, March 14, 2011– The Summa Center for Sports Health supports legislation proposed last week that aims to teach young athletes and parents about the dangers of concussions and brain injuries.

As proposed, the bill would require both school sponsored sports and youth sports organizations to adhere to specific requirements for the evaluation of head injuries and concussions before an athlete is permitted to return to play. The requirements include parent/guardian review of information about brain injuries before the student can begin practice, immediate removal of a student from play if they’re suspected of having a brain injury, and physician or athletic trainer approval for a removed athlete to return to play.

“Studies have shown that adolescents’ brains may require several weeks to heal following a concussion; and the younger the athlete, the longer the recovery,” said Tom Bartsokas, MD, a sports medicine physician at Summa Health System. “Studies also show that symptoms tend to worsen with physical and cognitive exertion, therefore special attention needs to be made to ensure adequate rest is afforded before resuming sports participation.”

A physician advisory committee member for the Ohio Athletic Trainers’ Association (OATA), Dr. Bartsokas and the OATA provided the following common symptoms for parents and coaches to help identify if a child may have a traumatic brain injury or concussion.

Physical Symptoms

  • Headache (does not matter the severity of the headache)
  • Headache that gets worse as the day goes on or is physically/mentally exerted
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Visual problems (blurred vision, double vision, trouble focusing, etc.)
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

Thinking/Cognitive Symptoms

  • Feeling mentally foggy
  • Problems concentrating
  • Problems remembering

Emotional Symptoms

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Feeling more emotional
  • Nervousness

Symptoms Related to Sleep

  • Drowsiness
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep

The concussion and traumatic brain injury bill was introduced on March 7, 2011 at the Ohio Statehouse by State Rep. Michael Stinziano (D-Columbus) and Rep. Sean O’Brien (D-Brookfield).

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit www.summahealth.org or find us on Facebook a twww.facebook.com/summahealth and Twitter at www.twitter.com/summahealth.

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