Monthly Archives: October 2013

Unique Concussion Center Opens at the Philadelphia Navy Yard

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Rothman Institute and Wills Eye Hospital have collaborated to establish the Jefferson Comprehensive Concussion Center (J.C.C.C.) at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

“The J.C.C.C. will be among the very few concussion centers in the nation to provide clinical care in areas such as neuro-opthalmology, neuroradiology, psychiatry, and complex rehabilitation at one facility,” according to a press release. “In addition to providing clinical care, J.C.C.C. will serve as a center for scientific research into concussion.”

R. Robert Franks, D.O., a pioneer in concussion care at the Rothman Institute; and Mijail Serruya, M.D. Ph.D, a leading cognitive neurologist at Jefferson, will serve as Medical Co-Directors of the new center.

Dr. Franks worked on early plans for J.C.C.C. with Theodore Taraschi, Ph.D., Vice President of Research at Thomas Jefferson University. Said Dr. Franks: “Our vision was to bring together the leaders in sports and non-sports concussion management to treat patients with the best clinical pathways and return to activity protocols to provide for successful patient outcomes in one facility—comprising all of the subspecialties needed to treat concussion. The center’s strength will be the collaboration of our three groups. We will be one of the few centers in the country to have sports medicine, neurology, neuropsychology, neuro-opthalmology, ophthalmology, neuroradiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, physical, occupational and vestibular therapy in one facility to diagnose and treat mild, moderate or severe concussion with compassion and unparalleled expertise.”

The effects of concussions on the eyes and vision are an important and emerging area of concern in the treatment of these injuries, according to Julia A. Haller, MD, ophthalmologist-in-chief at Wills Eye Hospital. “Concussion and brain injury patients often experience difficulty in tracking and focusing. That can lead to problems reading, driving, concentrating in school and using a computer. These patients need to be diagnosed, evaluated and then receive therapy,” said Haller.

The J.C.C.C. expects to treat a wide range of patients who suffer from traumatic brain injury: accident victims, injured veterans, and athletes.

Dr. Serruya said, “Families will be able to take children, adolescents, and adults to the new Jefferson Concussion Center and get help with every aspect of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery all at one accessible location. This is the same concussion team that treats the Philadelphia Phillies and the Flyers.”

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Latest Research on When Concussed Athletes Can Return to the Classroom

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations over the weekend for “return to learn” checklists to alert doctors, school administrators and parents to potential cognitive and academic challenges to students who have suffered a concussion.

A New York Times article noted that “only a few states have begun to address how and when a student should resume classwork.”

The problem may be the lack of consensus among researchers.

“Doctors generally recommend that a student with a concussion rest initially, to give the brain time to heal,” according to the Times. “That may mean no texting, video games, computer use, reading or television. But there’s a big question mark about the timing and duration of ‘cognitive rest.’ Experts have not identified at what point mental exertion impedes healing, when it actually helps, and when too much rest prolongs recovery. Although many doctors are concerned that a hasty return to a full school day could be harmful, this theory has not yet been confirmed by research.SONY DSC

“The student’s pediatrician, parents and teachers should communicate about the incident,” according to recommendations in the article, “and be watchful for when academic tasks aggravate symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and difficulty concentrating. The academy acknowledged that case management must be highly individualized: ‘Each concussion is unique and may encompass a different constellation and severity of symptoms.’”

The Times went on to quote Dr. Robert C. Cantu, the nation’s leading expert on concussions as saying “The overriding theme is not to exacerbate symptoms.”

The full Times article is available here:

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Get a Concussion, Lose Your Job

The NFL is a multi-billion dollar business.

As such, its teams and their respective executives aren’t about to take unnecessary risks or absorb extra costs by keeping a recently concussed player on the roster.

This simple fact was reiterated over the last week when the Detroit Lions cut tight end Tony Scheffler and the Jacksonville Jaguars cut safety Dwight Lowery.

Scheffler suffered a concussion Oct. 6 at Green Bay, his third in the past three seasons. Just after hauling in a 19-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, he was rocked by Packers safety Jerron McMillian. Scheffler, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the year, has been in the league eight years.

Meanwhile, Lowery sustained a concussion on the first play at Seattle on Sept. 22 and hasn’t practiced or played since. A sixth-year veteran, his locker was recently cleaned out and his name plate removed, according to the Associated Press. Coach Gus Bradley was quoted as saying that Lowery has “done a lot for us and was great throughout. It’s just an organizational decision.”

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