Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center

Uploaded by vanderbilthealth on 17.06.2012

>> Hunter Hillenmeyer, Former Vanderbilt Commodore and Chicago Bears Linebacker: There's a
culture of playing hurt that has probably forced people back into the field to play
when they had no business being there.
I had a few concussions myself. There was one particular game I remember. I played an
entire second half of football and didn't even have any recollection of it.
>> Allen Sills, Jr., MD : Basically, a concussion is an injury to the brain that causes a transient
disruption of brain function.
We don't yet have a perfect understanding of how many concussions are too many. Any
function that the brain normally controls if it's disrupted from a blow to the brain,
we consider that a concussion.
>> Andrew Gregory, MD, FAAP: One way to think about is shaking up an egg. You can shake
up the yolk and injure the yoke without actually breaking the egg.
>> Gary Solomon, PhD: It does require a team to handle some of the different challenges
that present with this type of injury.
>>Sills: The Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center is a collaborative effort among physicians
from different specialties who see athletes and treat them with concussion related problems.
>>Gregory: We were able to get together groups from neurosurgery, from neuropsychology, from
pediatric neurology and then sports medicine and all come together and agree on a standard
way to treat concussions.
>> Solomon: We are now treating concussions more seriously. First of all, there used to
be no treatment.
When I was a kid playing football, you'd get a concussion, the coach would come up
and stick two fingers in front of your face and say 'how many fingers?' and give you
three chances to get it right. If you did, you went back in the game.
>> Gregory: The main thing that has changed in the last 10 years is how quickly we send
kids back. We used to quite frequently in the same game have a child athlete go back
into the game if they were saying they were back to normal. We now know that's not a
good thing, and kids oftentimes have delayed symptoms after the game is over. The biggest
thing now is that if there is a concussion, they're out of that game, they're out
of that practice for at least 24 hours minimum.
>> Sills: We're also learning more about how we can better rehab athletes after a concussion.
We used to believe that you simply let someone rest and don't do anything until they recover,
and now we realize that there may be some active steps we can take to improve or shorten
the recovery.
One of the biggest areas of research is the continued search for medications that may
be of benefit, and we're still very early in that work to understand if anything might
help to shorten the duration of concussion symptoms and improve brain healing.
>> Hillenmeyer: On an NFL sideline, there are trainers, there is an orthopedist, there's
a neurologist, there's a neuropsychologist. You have all of these pieces in place that
gives a comprehensive picture of how to handle everything that can go wrong, but in your
typical youth sport or high school sporting event, you're lucky if you have one trainer
or one doctor on the sideline.
>>Sills: That's our real challenge is to make sure that every town, every school, every
league has basic information for their athletes, for their parents, for their coaches and their
administrators about these important injuries.
>>Hillenmeyer: When the event that you're able to properly diagnose a concussion and
then come to a place like Vanderbilt, where they have all of those same resources that
we have on an NFL sideline, having those experts in one place makes it a much easier puzzle
to fit all of the pieces together.