Concussion seminar focuses on education

Tyler Callahan of the Mountaineers collides with an opponent while teammate Kevin Morgan closes in during action in last summer’s annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament. (Enterprise file photo — Lou Reuter)

SARANAC LAKE — Parents with youngsters entering contact sports — or players, coaches, officials and referees involved in the same — are invited to attend a free concussion seminar on Aug. 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Hotel Saranac. This informative event is presented by Adirondack Health.

The concussion seminar precedes the 46th annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament, set for Aug. 2-4 in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.

The discussion about sports-related concussion and its long-term impact is being advanced by health care professionals and the media.

Over the past seven years, players in the Can-Am Rugby Tournament have participated in concussion studies. Led by Dr. Jorge Serrador, of Rutgers University, tournament organizers are once again offering free services where players from any of the 100 sides can voluntarily be examined after matches.

Dr. Serrador uses a mobile laboratory tent on the side of the pitch that allows the team to measure blood pressure, brain blood flow using ultrasound and respiration.

  It’s the intent of Dr. Serrador and his team to study blood flow immediately after injury or after the match. This collaboration is helping Rutgers develop an understanding of the immediate effects of a concussion. Using this information, the university’s team is working to develop better diagnostic tests to improve treatment of concussed players.

As part of this continuing education on concussion protocol, a free seminar is being offered.

Rutgers is a leading university devoted to conducting cutting edge research. Dr. Serrador is a member of the Rutgers Brain Health Institute, a center uniting the field of neuroscience toward the common goals of research in human brain function and dysfunction.

“I have taken the required concussion protocol requirement for USA Rugby,” Can-Am referee Gary Porter said. “If there are any more classes that I should take, I am willing to do so. Safety training can never be enough.”

Brain injury is very common. Being struck by another person or object is the leading cause of unintentional injury for teens and young adults ages 15 to 24, according to Injury Facts, and sports-related concussions are a significant contributor.

It’s more than football players – or boys – who bang their heads. Girls actually suffer a higher percentage of concussions, according to a report by Safe Kids Worldwide that analyzed sports-related emergency room injury data for children ages 6 to 19 in basketball, cheerleading, football, soccer and 11 other sports.

An estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes annually suffer concussion, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute. Often, cases are underreported and undiagnosed. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school athletes, but they are significant and on the rise in younger athletes.

Dr. Serrador and his team from the Integrative Human Physiology Laboratory are working on developing an on-field assessment tool that measures the severity of concussion acutely which is critical in enhancing treatments, understanding recovery, and predicting which players can return to action. 

If you are interested in attending the concussion seminar, RSVP to johnmorgan@jfmsports.com.