As part of its annual conference, the New York State Athletic Trainers’ Association (NYSATA), in conjunction with the Jamestown Community College (JCC) College Program Committee, “hosted a concussion education forum as a public service to the community at-large.” The break-out session “included presentations about cutting-edge research on post-concussion management, living with post-concussive degenerative syndromes, and preparing for sudden cardiac emergencies.”
This forum included “a screening of the eye-opening, brain-injury-in-sport-based documentary, Head Games, immediately followed by a panel discussion with various experts and a family with personal experience in the area of sports concussions.” In attendance at the session were “local coaches, school nurses, physicians, student-athletes, and parents, along with many athletic trainers (ATs).”
The documentary was introduced by “Christopher Nowinski, former All-Ivy football player and concussion activist who authored the book that inspired the film.”
As is often the case in what has become a widespread medical issue, education is key to making the public aware of the “seriousness of head and brain injuries in sports, specifically concussions.”
As Nowinski stated, “The challenge with concussions is that people don’t know what they don’t know; it is hard to convince them to take the time to learn about how important this issue is. The media has done a great job covering the topic, and documentaries like Head Games make it accessible because stories can be the best way for information to stick.”
In addition to Nowinski’s comments, concussion activist and former boxer Ray Ciancaglini told his personal story. Ciancaglini “returned too soon from what he now knows was a concussion early in his career and deals daily with permanent and degenerative post-concussion brain diseases, Dementia Pugilistica and Parkinson’s Syndrome.” He couples his non-profit website for concussion awareness, The Second Impact, with no-cost speaking engagements to spread the word wherever he can find an audience.
In today’s sports world, athletic trainers are playing a vital role in recognizing the signs and symptoms of head injury. They are on the front line when an injury occurs and have become the liaison between coaches, medical professionals, and parents when it comes to managing and monitoring concussed players.