Arizona Neurologist Honored by American Academy of Neurology for Sports Concussion Awareness

The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) has named neurologist Javier Cárdenas, MD of Phoenix, Arizona as the AAN Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum Advocate of the Year.

Cárdenas received his award at the Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum this month, for his exceptional work in creating Barrow Brainbook, the nation’s first mandated concussion education and test for student athletes in Arizona.

Cárdenas and Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center collaborated with the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Interscholastic Association to design BarrowBrainbook, a module that all Arizona high school athletes are now required to pass before participating in any sport.

The award recognizes the exemplary efforts of graduates of the Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum, a skills-development program designed by the AAN to train selected members to be effective advocates for their patients and their profession.

Cárdenas graduated in the advocacy class of 2008, and served as an advisor in 2009. He has been a member of the AAN since 2007. Cárdenas created the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center, the nation’s most comprehensive concussion prevention, treatment, and education program

“Many cases of brain injuries are under diagnosed and mishandled for a lack of education on diagnosing and treating sports concussions,” said Cárdenas. “This program is created to prevent harmful practices that can cause or exacerbate a concussion as well as offer treatment options.”

Barrow Brainbook is an online educational module about concussion designed for the high school athlete. The module features computer-generated animation, interviews with physicians, peers, and local professional athletes, as well as video footage of actual concussions. Since its 2012 creation, 260,000 Arizona high school athletes have completed the innovative training.

Cárdenas serves on Arizona State Governor’s Advisory Council on Spinal and Head Injuries as well as the Arizona Neurological Society. He also serves on the National Football League’s (NFL) Head, Neck, and Spine Committee where he advises the NFL on best practices for concussion prevention and management.

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