We hear a lot about concussions, especially in youth sports.
Statistics show there are 3.8 million sports- and recreational-related concussions that happen every year. But no matter if it’s minor or a traumatic one, all concussions need to be taken seriously.
That’s something Banner Health already does.
People got a chance to check out the new Banner Concussion Center on the Good Samaritan Medical Center campus in Phoenix. The grand opening event for the center was on Saturday.
“To be here and have the opportunity to provide education, awareness and the appropriate treatment of concussions for the entire community is really exciting,” said Dr. Steve Erickson, medical director of the Banner Concussion Center.
“Most providers think, and most people actually think, that concussion is one diagnosis,” Erickson continued. “Concussion is not one diagnosis. Concussion is a constellation of diagnoses.”
Erickson and a team of medical experts, including neuropsychologists and vision therapists, have been put in place under one facility to bring a comprehensive approach to concussion care.
“We can really ensure a more complete recovery because we have more than four data points of objective testing to confirm that,” Erickson said. “So it’s not just, ‘Are you OK and is your neurological exam OK, is your CAT scan OK [anymore].’”
The Scottsdale Argonauts youth football team got a chance to try out one of those tests.
“Baseline testing is in the pre-injury time before somebody is going to be at risk of sustaining a concussion before their football season, before they start riding a bicycle, before they work as a police officer,” Erickson said. “We take a snapshot of what their brain function is like, what their neurological function is like, and then utilize several objective testings for that.”
Far West Bandits Girls soccer team and Xtreme Air Jump ‘N Skate Park were also on hand to demonstrate how to protect your head.
“I think we should be looking at making sports safer, making sure that folks understand the importance of the appropriate headgear, appropriate helmet that fits well,” Erickson said. “There are folks in the community, including Scott Peters, who are here teaching the appropriate techniques in playing contact sports.”
Peters is the founder of Safe Football, a nonprofit organization providing a comprehensive safety program for all ages and skill levels.
“I look at it like there are four things to resolve this problem comprehensively,” Peters said. “You have preventive, which is Safe Football. You’ve got diagnosis, which people are using and there are more methods coming out for that. [You] have education awareness, which Banner is doing, and then you’ve got management.”
“It’s OK if you play with a sprained ankle or some back pain,” Erickson said. “It’s not OK to play with a brain injury until you’re fully recovered.”
For more information on the Banner Concussion Center visit www.bannerhealth/bannerconcussioncenter.