For scheduling or information, 877-CENTEGRA

News: Panel of experts to address concussions in youth

CRYSTAL LAKE – Centegra Health System and McHenry County ThinkFirst, which is administered by the McHenry County Mental Health Board, have partnered to bring national and local experts together to address the startling rise in sports-related concussions among middle and high school athletes.

“Sports-Related Concussions”  will be offered free of charge to the public Wednesday, Oct. 6 at McHenry County College. Registration will take place from 8 to 9 a.m. and the presentation will be conducted from 9 to 10 a.m. A panel discussion and Q&A session is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m.

Join Dr. Henry Feuer, neurosurgical consultant for the Indianapolis Colts and member of the National Football League’s subcommittee on mild traumatic brain injuries, who will discuss sports-related concussions in youth and teen athletes.

This workshop will benefit school staff and everyone in the community who works with youth in sports. The presentation will concentrate on the new mandates on concussion management, the recognition and diagnosis of concussions, concussion management, short and long-term effects of concussions, multiple concussions and computerized neurocognitive testing.

Feuer will be joined by a local physiatrist, neurologist and representatives from area social service agencies in a one-hour panel discussion and Q&A session. Informational booths also will address therapeutic treatment, case management and advocacy resources.

Emergency room visits for school-age athletes with concussions has skyrocketed in recent years, suggesting the intensity of youth’s sports has increased along with awareness of head injuries.

The findings in a study of national data do not necessarily mean that concussions are on the rise. However, many children are not taken for medical treatment, so the numbers are likely only a snapshot of a much bigger problem, doctors say.

Space is limited for this important community event. Register by calling 877-CENTEGRA (236-8347).

In April 2008, the McHenry County Mental Health Board formed a task force to organize services and information for residents who experienced traumatic brain injury (TBI) per their response to concerns addressed at a public hearing. This task force identified the need for a community-based prevention program and established the McHenry County Chapter of ThinkFirst.

In less than one year, they established a solid nine-member decision-making committee headed by a VIP parent that led the development and implementation of a strategic three-year plan. The plan maps strategies for community education on the prevention of TBI. They have reached more than 2,000 primary school age children through three summer camps and numerous classroom programs. In addition, in-service trainings have been presented to nearly 90 direct service providers.