Concussion Awareness Program

Each year, there are between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions in the United States, leading the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to declare sports concussions an “epidemic.” But the incidence of concussions is not confined to the sports field or gymnasium. Blows and jolts to the head occur to youngsters and adults in a variety of situations. It could be a fall off a bicycle, a trip down the stairs, or a collision on the skating rink. Our general instincts are to get up and resume what we are doing and pretend that everything is fine. Many people are unaware that we don’t even need a blow to the head to sustain a head trauma, and that blows to the body can also cause a concussion. When even what is thought to be a mild head trauma occurs, a medical evaluation is needed because a concussion is a traumatic brain injury. The right actions, including resting the brain, can be key to preventing further injury and possible brain damage.

In order to address this growing concern, Righttime Medical Care has implemented an innovative community program known as HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Care. Spearheaded by Dr. Robert G. Graw Jr., CEO and Chief Pediatrician of Righttime Medical Care, Dr. Graw first became aware of the need for educating the public and developing a community model for education, prevention, and treatment in 2010. Utilizing Righttime’s expertise in delivering immediate care and the resources of many experts in the field of traumatic brain injury, HeadFirst serves a variety of patients in all age groups including young athletes and their families, physicians, coaches, and athletic trainers in the education, evaluation, and treatment of concussions. Righttime offers support for the sideline evaluation of concussions as well, and helps trainers, coaches, and parents seek and manage appropriate care in the unfortunate event an athlete sustains a concussion. The cornerstone of Headfirst is an awareness plan geared to not only student athletes and anyone who might sustain a concussion, but also for parents, coaches and other interested parties. In order to assist with our education component, Dr. Graw and other leading members of our medical team and education staff are available to speak to your community organization, recreation league, coaching staff, or school board.

In assisting the sports community, HeadFirst was developed to offer education on signs and symptoms of concussion, what to expect if the athlete sustains a head injury, how to assess on the sideline, familiarization with state laws protecting student athletes and coaches, and more. In addition, HeadFirst offers coaches education sessions, which comply with current guidelines for concussion awareness and includes a certification of completion.

Additionally, Headfirst is pleased to offer the ImPACT® test (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), which is also used by many professional, collegiate, and high school sports athletes across the country. IMPACT is a non-invasive computerized exam that measures cognitive brain function and reaction time of athletes 5 years of age and older. The test is set up in “video-game” style and takes about 25 minutes to complete (the pediatric version of the test for ages 5 to 9 is shorter). It is simple, and many athletes enjoy the challenge of taking the test. It can be administered to student athletes before an injury occurs to assess pre-injury cognitive function and reaction time. It is also used after an injury occurs as a tool to measure the impact a concussion has on certain areas of brain function. Ideally, there will be a pre-injury baseline test for each person to compare to a post-injury baseline in order to assist in understanding the effects of a concussion. Essentially, the ImPACT Baseline test is a preseason physical of the brain.

HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Care is offering baseline tests to student-athletes ages 5 and up who are currently participating in local sports leagues. We encourage all athletes to utilize this opportunity to get a baseline test, which can be an important evaluation tool. Call or contact us to schedule a test time. Even without an initial baseline test, we utilize the ImPACT test to measure brain function shortly after a concussion has occurred. Subsequent testing can measure levels of recovery.

Testing is offered at multiple locations. HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Care Centers are in Annapolis, Crofton, Columbia, Frederick, Germantown, Olney, Pasadena, Pikesville, Silver Spring, and Waugh Chapel. Click here to schedule a test.

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