Re-posted from pahomepage.com

It’s that time of year when school sports start back up and as kids hit the field, parents want safety to be the goal.

An injury during a game stops the play and puts parents on edge as they pray it’s not their child hurt. G.A.R. High School head football coach Paul Wiedlich says “we usually have 2 to 3 concussions a year.” “I just remember getting head up with the running backs on a tackle and hearing a ding then the lights hurt for a couple of days, headache,” recalls G.A.R. High School senior Zachary Faust as he describes what he felt while suffering a concussion. He adds “nobody wants to be out of the game and i hated it as much as any player would. It sucks.”

Faust is not alone, according to doctors at Allied Services, often times students are afraid of talking about a head injury, fearing they will be benched, Now, doctors across the country are trying to change that opinion. Dr. Michael J. Raymond, of Allied Services, says “making, especially student, athletes aware that it’s o.k. to have a concussion, it’s o.k. to report the symptoms and be honest and you are not going to be sitting out for a prolonged period if time, that’s the important thing.” Dr. Paul Horchos, rehabilitation doctor at Northeast Rehabilitation Associates, says “I think the most important thing about concussions is that if you don’t treat them, they tend to linger and intensify.” Both doctors agree parents should not be fearful when signing up their child for sports, just be aware of what could happen and what to do if it does.

Dr. Raymond says “you shouldn’t be scared but you should well educated and be alert and have a talk with your son or daughter about the potential consequences and just educated.” He explains getting educated starts with something called baseline testing, a series of computerized tests the athletes take before the season starts. “I always use the analogy of baseline dental records or other types of blood work. Even though everything is normal, that is the baseline an that’s what we want, so if you go out and have a concussion, we have on file how your cognitive tests were before you had a concussion,” he says.

Not only do the student athletes at G.A.R. go through baseline testing, but the coaches must take concussion related training as well. Wiedlich says “we’re taught to look for any signs or symptoms and things of that sort. We’ll come and have them go right to the athletic trainer and the athletic trainer or team doctor will evaluate the situation and make his or her recommendation as to whether they can go back in and play or not.” Even after suffering from a head injury, Faust is back to normal, eager to step onto the field for the 2014-2015 season and encourages parents to let their children do the same, saying “definitely put them on the field and give them a chance to go.”

If you are a coach or trainer, or know of someone involved in youth sports Allied Services and Northeast Rehabilitation Associates are holding a free “lunch & learn, open-to-the-community” seminar Tuesday, August 5th at the Heinz Rehab Hospital. The topic is “Sports Injuries: What coaches and trainers need to know about concussions and cervical injuries.”