Tag Archives: awareness

Bay Area High Schools Piloting Dignity Health Concussion Network With Planned Expansion Into Other California Regions

As local students return to school and start fall sports, Dignity Health’s Barrow Neurological Institute and the Dignity Health Foundation are expanding the Dignity Health Concussion Network, “a first of its kind student athlete-focused approach to concussion education and prevention.” The program first debuted in California in January with support from the San Francisco 49ers, the California Interscholastic Federation, and ImPACT, the maker of a widely-used computerized concussion management tool.

More than 1,400 student athletes from five pilot schools – George Washington High School in San Francisco, Overfelt High School in San Jose, Berkeley High School, Carlmont High School in Belmont, and Milpitas High School – will be participating in four defined modules from the Dignity Health Concussion Network. These modules include comprehensive concussion education, an assessment, and pre-and-post ImPACT concussion testing.

“Sometimes student athletes return to play too soon after a head injury,” said Jed York, CEO of the San Francisco 49ers. “We are proud to help bring this important program to our area so that young athletes, their families and their coaches are better educated on the importance of managing such injuries with the appropriate level of care. Through proper preventative measures and injury treatment our youth can enjoy healthy careers in sports for as long as they desire.”

More than 20 other Bay Area high schools will also begin to utilize the Barrow Brainbook, the web and app-based educational component of the Dignity Health Concussion Network. Barrow Brainbook was created by neurologists at the Dignity Health Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, a renowned neurological establishment that performs more brain surgeries annually than anywhere in the United States. The interactive tool, which is designed to feel like a social media site, takes high school athletes through a series of engaging educational activities and videos about concussions. The program will continue to expand to 200,000 Bay Area students by mid-2017.

“This program is necessary to help correct major misunderstandings that most of the population has about concussions,” said Dr. Jávier Cardenas, director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center in Phoenix. “For example, many people believe that a head injury is only a concussion if there is a loss of consciousness, but 90 percent of concussions do not present with that symptom at all. This program empowers athletic directors and coaches to take an injured player out of the game and gives athletes the tools to speak up when something doesn’t feel quite right.”

In addition to the Barrow Brainbook education module, the full program piloted by the five Bay Area high schools will incorporate a formal exam, which students will need to pass before beginning a sport, as well as ImPACT cognitive testing. The first round of ImPACT testing occurs in advance of the sports season to understand an athlete’s baseline cognitive abilities. Should that athlete suffer from head trauma, athletic trainers, directors, and coaches certified by the Dignity Health Concussion Network will repeat the test and compare it to the baseline scores to better understand the severity of the injury. Should they have any immediate questions, these trainers will also have access to world-renowned neurologists via a telemedicine tool.

The Barrow Brainbook was first introduced in Arizona in 2011, making it the first mandatory education module for all high school athletes in the country.

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Concussions on the Rise for Adolescents, Researchers Say

Sustaining a concussion during adolescence may be more common than previous estimates, according to researchers presenting their study recently at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, CO.

 “Our team looked at the administrative health records of more than 8.8 million members of a large private payer insurance group and noted that 32 percent of the individuals diagnosed with concussion were between file7841289514020the ages of 10-19 years old with the largest increase in incidence between 2007 and 2014 in that age group. This is the first study to evaluate trends in concussion diagnoses across the general US population in a variety of age groups,” said lead author, Alan L. Zhang, MD from the University of California San Francisco Medical Center.

The highest incidence of concussion was seen in the 15-19 age group (16.5 cases per 1,000 patients) followed by the 10-14 (10.5 per 1,000), 20-24 (5.2 per 1,000) and 5-9 (3.5 per 1,000) age groups. Overall, there was a 60% increase in concussion incidence from 2007-2014. The largest increases were in the 10-14 (143%) and 15-19 (87%) age groups. Fifty-six percent of concussions were diagnosed in the emergency room and 29% in a physician’s office with the remainder being seen in urgent care or inpatient settings.

Zhang and his team also noted that irrespective of sport, the incidence of concussion in male patients was one and a half times higher than that in female patients.

“The rates at which concussions are rising may in part be due to the rise in youth sports participation and also better diagnostic skills/training for coaches and sports medicine professionals. This trend is alarming however, and the youth population should definitely be prioritized for ongoing work in concussion diagnosis, education, treatment and prevention,” said Zhang.

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Indianapolis Colts and UnitedHealthcare Host 18 Indiana High-School Football Programs for Student-Athlete Health and Safety Clinic

Eighteen Indiana high-school football programs were hosted Thursday at the Indianapolis Colts’ headquarters at an exclusive event focused on student-athlete health and safety.

The event was the culmination of the inaugural HELMETs sweepstakes, a collaboration between the Indianapolis Colts and UnitedHealthcare to enhance health and safety of young athletes through proper equipment, education and training.

Select players, coaches and school administrators from each school attended the event, which featured remarks from guest speaker and former Colts offensive lineman Ryan Diem and a Heads Up Football™ clinic conducted by USA Football; and concluded with an awards ceremony at which Tri-West Hendricks High School was selected at random to win the HELMETs grand prize of new 5-star helmets for the school’s varsity football program (valued at $25,000). The 17 remaining finalists each received a $1,000 donation to the school’s athletic department.

HELMETs encourages and motivates Indiana high-school football programs to strengthen their commitment to player health and safety by enrolling in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program – endorsed by leading medical associations and the NFL – to advance coaching education and student-athlete safety. Eighteen schools were nominated by fans as part of the 2015 sweepstakes:

Avon High School
Carmel High School
Chesterton High School
Decatur Central High School
Delphi Community High School
East Noble High School
Evansville F.J. Reitz High School
Fishers High School
Lapel High School
Monrovia High School
New Castle Chrysler High School
New Prairie High School
Plymouth High School
Roncalli High School
Southport High School
Tri High School
Tri-West Hendricks High School
West Washington High School

“We are excited to host the culmination of the inaugural HELMETs initiative,” said Matt Godbout, Colts senior vice president of business development. “Our partnership with UnitedHealthcare is off to a great start, and we look forward to growing the game of football together through education and safe equipment.”

“UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to join the Indianapolis Colts and USA Football in advancing young athletes’ health and safety,” said Dan Krajnovich, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Indiana and Kentucky. “HELMETs connects coaches, parents and athletes with tools and resources to address the issues that affect athletes. These finalists are outstanding examples of high schools and coaching staffs committed to providing students with the knowledge and skills they need to protect themselves on the field.”

“HELMETs is an important and exciting partnership for the good of student-athletes across our home state, and we’re pleased to contribute to it,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. “Coaches are teachers. Supporting their programs with education and quality equipment are powerful catalysts for exceptional and fun football experiences that fuel lasting fitness, academic and social benefits.”

USA Football is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and trains more high school and youth football coaches combined than any organization in the country.

The 2016 HELMETs sweepstakes officially launched today. To be eligible, high-school football programs in Indiana must commit to enhancing player health and safety through Heads Up Football certification. Heads Up Football offers certification clinics, combined with an online curriculum, to educate coaches about Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved concussion recognition and response protocols, proper equipment fitting, Heads Up tackling, Heads Up blocking, heat emergency preparedness and hydration, and sudden cardiac arrest. More details about USA Football’s Heads Up Football program can be found at www.usafootball.com/headsup.

UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 870,000 people in Indiana with a network of 170 hospitals and nearly 21,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.

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