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Talking about concussions

Info session on sport concussions on Wednesday

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 15, 2014 06:00 am

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Concussion Discussion

Wednesday, Feb. 19
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Sturgeon Community Hospital
Conference Rooms A, B, C
Tickets are free but seating is limited. Please call 418-7361 to register and to reserve your seat.

Dr. John Neilson believes “the easiest headache to treat is the one that doesn’t happen.”

That’s why the pediatric neurology resident at the Stollery Children’s Hospital wants to get to the root of the problem – traumatic brain injuries – and prevent them from happening.

As part of a free information session hosted by the Sturgeon Community Hospital Foundation and the St. Albert and Sturgeon Primary Care Network, Neilson will be directing a discussion on concussion in sport on Feb. 19.

He will be joined by Dr. John Clarke, a physician who specializes in sports medicine. The talk will take place at the Sturgeon Hospital on Wednesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Concussions are a brain injury that occurs when the brain moves or twists and hits the inside of the skull from a direct or indirect force to the head. It is the most frequent form of traumatic brain injury.

“It’s a topic that is very much in the public eye primarily because of high profile people such as Sidney Crosby, the NFL lawsuit and the NHL lawsuit. But also because concussion is on the rise dramatically,” said Neilson, whose field of practice and research is in headache, migraine and concussion.

A position statement by the American College of Neurology on sports concussion stated that emergency department visits for sports and recreation related traumatic brain injuries (including concussions) among children and adolescents has increased by 60 percent over the last decade.

Neilson said the data could be extrapolated to traumatic brain injury trends in Canada.

The aftermath of a concussion can include headaches, memory loss, trouble concentrating, poor judgment and problems with balance and coordination.

Neilson said the info session will focus on secondary prevention strategies – preventing further injury or detriment – as well as the use of protective equipment, recognition signs of a concussion and what to do once you suspect it.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, from 2003 to 2004 sports and recreational activities were the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury admissions in Canadian hospitals.

Neilson said concussions aren’t just limited to contact sport.

“One of the worst concussions I saw was from swimming. She was doing the back stroke and so was the other person that she ran into,” he said. “It’s not always just the hockey player or the football player.”

Concussions can also occur in “day-to-day life accidents” such as children bumping heads while playing together.

Neilson said the talk is for anybody who wants to know more about concussion, whether it be parents, coaches, teachers or the players themselves.


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