The likelihood of an athlete in a high contact sport experiencing a concussion is as high as twenty percent per season. The good news is that most concussions are followed by complete recovery. Some concussions, however, can lead to more severe injuries if not identified and treated early.
A collaboration of Dignity Health and the Barrow Neurological Institute has resulted in the formation of the Dignity Health Concussion Network. This comprehensive program was designed to promote the health and safety of student athletes through innovative education methods, baseline testing, concussion research and immediate access to professional consultation. The Barrow Brainbook, a user-friendly e-learning module, provides sport-related concussion education and strategies for action if needed. With the oversight of a team of highly-skilled professionals in the management of concussion, this program helps to prevent potentially serious brain injuries by educating parents and their student athletes, coaches, and the wider community on how to recognize and appropriately respond to a suspected concussion. This allows local student athletes to enjoy the benefits of engaging in sports without lingering severe brain injuries.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury that can be caused by either a direct blow to the head or face or to another part of the body resulting in a jarring or shaking of the brain inside the skull. A concussion largely reflects a reversible disturbance of neurological function rather than a structural injury of the brain. This functional disturbance results in a range of signs and symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. The symptoms of a concussion typically occur immediately, but can start and evolve over a number of minutes to hours. The disturbance in brain function and the signs and symptoms of concussion are most often short-lived; however, in some cases the symptoms of concussion may be prolonged. It is important for each athlete to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion and a potentially dangerous brain injury as well as the steps in the recovery process and in making a return-to-play decision. The Dignity Health Concussion Network is here to help every student athlete play safely.
The Barrow Brainbook: Concussion Education
High-school athletes receive concussion education via the Barrow Brainbook, a module specifically developed for the high school population. Designed to look like a social networking site, complete with profile photos and “like” and “dislike” buttons, it offers students a fun-to-navigate series of educational activities and videos. The program uses videos from sports celebrities and a Q&A format to walk student athletes through the symptoms and signs of a concussion, encourages them to report all suspected concussions (even for teammates), and explains what to do if they think they have experienced a concussion. Students must score 80% or higher on each module before being eligible for ImPACT testing.
Baseline Measurement with ImPACT Testing
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the most-widely used online concussion evaluation system in the nation. ImPACT testing allows each athlete to establish a baseline measurement to which any post-concussion medical indicators are compared. The 30-minute test measures an athlete’s memory, attention and concentration, problem solving abilities, and processing speed. The test is administered by high-school athletic trainers and coaches who have been trained by one of our Dignity Health Concussion Network physicians. Typically, students complete ImPACT in groups of 15-20, one to two times during their high-school athletic years. Post-injury testing. When an injury occurs, a post-concussion ImPACT test is administered within 48 to 72 hours. The test results are then compared to the baseline data to help assess whether it is safe for the athlete to return to play.
Learn More About The Dignity Health Concussion Network
For more information about our concussion education for high school athletes, call (805) 988-2658.