Concussion tips and prevention

How Parents Can Impact Concussion Prevention

Just as football has changed a lot since Brett Favre became the Green Bay Packers starting quarterback in 1992, so has the medical treatment of one of the sport’s more serious byproduct: concussions.

Lynn Fitzgerald, M.D.

Lynn Fitzgerald, M.D.

When Farve revealed on Oct. 24 that he suffered serious memory loss as a result of the many hits he took during his 19-year career, the revelation didn’t come as a surprise to Lynn Fitzgerald, M.D.

Fitzgerald, is a neurologist and sports concussion specialist at The Neurosurgery Group, a Texas Health Physicians Group practice located at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She said it was an opportunity to remind parents of the steps they can take to avoid a potential injury.

Her advice? Make sure your kids receive a neuropsychological baseline test, the most common of which is called the ImPACT test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), used by the National Football League and the National Hockey League. It’s done on the computer and takes about 20 to 30 minutes per child.

“If I had a child playing football — which I do — I’d make absolutely sure they had a current ImPACT baseline that gives me a picture where they are neuro-psychologically when they’re normal,” Fitzgerald said. “So that if anything happens, I can make sure they’re back to normal before they get hit again.”

It’s up to parents, Fitzgerald said, to be proactive with their kids and take advantage of the tools that allow trained medical personnel to see and diagnose a concussion.

“The risk of having problems—both immediately, like second-impact syndrome, and long-term — goes up dramatically if the concussions are treated improperly,” she said. “Meaning, another hit to the head when the brain is still not back to normal. That’s really the focus in the programs we’re doing.”

Learn more about concussion management at TexasHealth.org/SportsConcussions.

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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