The new concussion clinic offers a range of treatments and tests from physicians and physical therapists. It’s the same approach used by clinics that treat professional athletes, said Dr. Nick DenBesten, a neuropsychologist who provides treatment at the clinic.
Concern over the effects of brain injuries has been heightened by news coverage about professional football players who have suffered concussions.
On Thursday, court officials announced that the National Football League has agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by more than 4,000 retired football players who suffered from concussions.
While the clinic can help local football players who suffer concussions during the season, athletes aren’t the only ones likely to benefit from the new clinic, said DenBesten and Bill Gosser, lead athletic trainer at the concussion center. “We’ll see a number of soccer athletes, too,” Gosser said. “Girls more so than boys, even.”
Many of the soccer injuries stem from head-to-head contact, when the athletes are going for the ball, he said.
Concussions — sudden brain injuries caused by a sudden blow to the head or body — are also a danger for cheerleaders and athletes in many other sports. They can happen to anyone, particularly in the winter, when slippery surfaces increase the danger of falling, Gosser said.
The clinic’s opening comes after the Ohio High School Athletic Association adopted new rules that bring schools into compliance with a new state law overseeing the treatment of athletes who have suffered a concussion.
According to the athletic association’s website, any coach or referee who notices an athlete suffering symptoms of a concussion must immediately remove the athlete from the game. The athlete cannot return to practice or competition until he or she has been examined by a doctor or certified health care provider working with a doctor. The athletes must receive written authorization to return to the sport.
It’s important for people to know that they can recover completely from a concussion, DenBesten said.
The key, however, is to give the person time to recover before undergoing activity that carries the risk of a new concussion, he said.