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Earlier this month, Kawann Short and Athletes for Charity sponsored a STEM/Football Camp at E.C. Central. While the student-athletes were busy on the field or in class, their parents attended health and safety-related lectures sponsored by St. Catherine Hospital and Community Healthcare System.

It was standing room only for the first presentation of the day by sports medicine specialist Joseen Bryant, MD, who spoke about concussion.

It’s been barely 10 days since Bryant spoke, but in that time, concussion has been in the news again and again. And Bryant, who has an office in St. John but also sees patients at Community Hospital’s Concussion Clinic in Munster, touched upon every issue raised recently in the national media.

She first advised parents to be aware of the symptoms of concussion. They include headache, nausea, dizziness, impaired vision, light and noise sensitivity, appearing dazed, confusion, forgetfulness, clumsiness, moodiness and loss of consciousness. She also reviewed a step-by-step recovery process that should take at least seven days.

None of those items were addressed by Pittsburgh Penguins star Sydney Crosby on Wednesday, when he spoke to reporters in his hometown of Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia, and was asked about concussion.

With a history of multiple concussions and prolonged absences as a result, Crosby suffered another in Game 3 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Yet, five days later, he was back for Game 5, only to fall head first into the boards. He rose with difficulty, appeared dazed and skated slowly to the bench. However, there was no call from the observers in the press box and Crosby remained in that game. Nor did he miss another as his team won a second consecutive Cup.

There was quite a bit of buzz in the media on these issues surrounding Games 3, 4 and 5 of that second round series, but Crosby said he was too busy winning another championship to pay attention.

Too many high school principals in Indiana are also apparently too busy to pay attention to concussion. Last week at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual concussion conference, the results of an Indiana University study were presented. Of 157 principals surveyed, only 34 percent had received training on returning to learn after a concussion. Perhaps worse was that 42 percent of the principals said they had had only one to five students with a concussion in the previous year. The data from other studies would advise those same principals that, in a school of 1000 students, you would expect dozens.

Had those principals been in attendance at Bryant’s talk, rather than parents, they would have heard her say: “For most students, only short-term changes or support services are needed as they recover from a concussion.”

Bryant finished her presentation by a encouraging a “culture of safety” that includes proper equipment that fits properly.

On Thursday, ESPN published a story on what to expect in the NFL by 2020. After looking at several business-related issues, reporter Kevin Seifert turned his attention to one piece of equipment in particular, the helmet. By 2020, Seifert predicts helmets “will look and function much differently.” He bases that forecast on the recently released VICIS helmet that is designed to dissipate rotational forces by having a deformable outer shell riding on an inner shell.

Next week, more on the VICIS helmet.

John Doherty is a licensed athletic trainer and physical therapist. This column reflects solely his opinion. Reach him at jdoherty@comhs.org. Follow him on Twitter @JDohertyATCPT.

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