Conference raises concussion awareness

Hundreds of athletic trainers, coaches, medical professionals attend

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With the issue of concussions becoming a hot topic in recent years, a conference was held Downtown on Sunday, where hundreds of sports and health professionals were on hand to raise awareness.

The American Academy of Neurology Sports Concussion Conference went beyond medical professionals. Athletic trainers, coaches and other disciplines are now part of the national concussion conversation, and hundreds were in attendance. 

With football season approaching, headlines about concussions will likely show up, too. University of North Carolina School of the Arts physician’s assistant Elisabeth Motsinger said concussions aren't an issue exclusive to playing football.

“Any sport is an issue, and, quite honestly, any teenager is something we should be concerned about if they have a head injury,” Motsinger said.

Motsinger is also on her local school board. She said she’s seen an increased focus on concussions in both walks of life.

“I think the subtlety is starting to become more apparent. I think there’s a time when there was no attention paid to concussions,” Motsinger said. “Then there was a backlash that made parents and students terrified of any hit on their head was going to cause major damage.”

Dr. Christopher Giza, a neurologist from UCLA helped organize the event. He agreed that the risk to young people goes beyond football.

“(The) third-highest cause of concussion in practice is cheering. Also, lacrosse is becoming popular, increasing the risk of concussions,” Giza said.

Much of the conference was closed to the media because of proprietary medical research that was on display. Giza did step out to talk about some things people should look out for.

“If there’s a mechanism where the head gets hit there are neurological symptoms. The most common of are headache, dizziness, confusion and nausea. There’s quite a lot of them,” Giza said.

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