Updates

Concussion Video released August, 2014
Check out Dr. Mike Evans Concussion 101 video – click here
March 10, 2016 – I reposted this announcement because I find it informative.  This is a worthwhile 10 minute video that describes the symptoms of concussion is an animated and easy to understand format.  I ask all the patients coming for concussion management to look at it.  It is an accurate review of symptoms and recommended treatment for the first week after a concussion.  It is a very clever, informative video made by a Canadian physician.  For more on concussion click here

The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts provides excellent support for brain injury patients and their families.  Group therapy and family support are a large part of the recovery process.  The BIA-MA has a wealth of educational material for those looking for assistance with a family member with TBI.  The BIA of Massachusetts also provides training for professionals interested in becoming certified in the care of those suffering with brain injury.

WESTBOROUGH, MA March 10, 2016 The Center’s for Disease Control submitted their update on traumatic brain injury to the Congress in January. In the past 3 years fewer patients are being referred for inpatient, acute rehabilitation.  This is a detriment to patient outcome I attribute to insurance companies failure to appreciate the critical need for acute brain injury programs.  The months following brain injury are critical for those who are so afflicted and their families. Fewer patients are being referred for intensive inpatient programs and many hospitals are closing the units that once provided exemplary care.  Hospitals like Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough and Haverhill, MA, New England Rehabilitation Hospital in Woburn, MA and Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital in Worcester are just a few of the hospitals that once provided for inpatient TBI patients and are now greatly reduced in their census for these cases.
I am affiliated with the Whittier Healthcare System and know that the physicians and rehabilitation professionals t WRH are highly skilled and caring in the care and rehabilitation of TBI patients from coma to community re-entry.

WESTBOROUGH, MA December 29, 2015  Perhaps the biggest update for people reading this page is in the growing understanding about brain injury and the cumulative impact of hits to the brain on the longterm health of athletes.  Readers are also warned about visiting pracitioners who claim to have expertise in concussion and tests to diagnose and treat them. No single medication or treatment is best just like there are no two concussions that are just alike.
CTE  – The link here bounces the reader to a short video about chronic traumatic encephalopathy.  CTE was made into a household word in the feature film Concussion featuring academy award winning Will Smith as physician Bennet Omalu, M.D. Dr. Omalu is attributed to have brought CTE into the medical mainstream by taking on the NFL and its policies on brain injury.  Both the video and the movie worth seeing.
A deadly year in high school football
WESTBOROUGH, MA November 12, 2014 This has been a deadly year for high school football players across America. 8 boys have died this season playing high school football in incidents related to head trauma in the 2013-2014 season.  According to Time Magazine (October 20), 3 players died within one week of each other early in October. Tom Cutinella, 16, a high school player from New York died from injuries he sustained in a game on October 1.  Damario Harris, 17, died one week earlier after making a tackle in a Troy, Alabama high school football game, and Isaiah Langston, 17, linebacker, died during the teams warm-up in Rolesville, NC.
The fact that these three athletes died within a week of one another is a tragic reminder of the risks young athletes take when the hit the gridiron.  These families and the school comunities grieve the loss of these young student athletes.  “High school athletes are at greater risk of concussion that older college or pro athletes”, according to Michael Sefton, Ph.D. at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough, MA.  In a seminar provided for school nurses Dr. Sefton described the return to play protocol used at the Concussion Assessment clinic at Whittier.  People interested in return to play consultation may call Dr. Sefton at 508-871-2077 for an appointment.

October 5, 2013 Academic Support during Critical Periods
The impact of traumatic brain injury during a child’s development is a difficult phenomenon to predict and more difficult to support once the child returns to school.  Many factors such as the type of injury, focal versus diffuse, age and injury, preexisting developmental delay, and post-injury functioning. Injuries that are sustained during critical periods of development may derail adaptation to the paticular demands of the developmental stage.

August 23, 2013 Academic Functioning in question after concussion 
It is now well known that an athlete suffering with concussion cannot work as efficiently as before.  The change in cognitive functioning after concussion takes 5-9 days or longer for healing to take place. Here in Massachusetts, the MIAA now requires that a physician be the one to clear the student to return to play.  This is a prudent recommendation unless the pediatrician is not clear on the latest standard of care for concussion management. Consultation between the pediatrician and concussion specialist is essential.  The Concussion Assessment and Management Program (CAMP) helps pediatricians, schools, and individual teams and athletes understand sports-related concussion and the importance of a carefully planned recovery protocol.  At the center of this protocol is the identification of baseline and post-injury cognitive function testing.  Just as important is the return-to-school protocol.

August 16, 2013 Degenerative condition associated with frequent concussions
Research on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy has begun to get traction here and everywhere.  The Boston University School of Medicine has begun publishing the findings from the brains of athletes who have died.  Some of these brains show the tell-tale signs of the degenerative condition much like dementia Alzheimer’s Type.  Retired San Diego Charger Junior Seau was linked to CTE following his death by suicide in 2009.  I will post a link below to the recent paper published by the brain bank at Boston University.
http://www.espn.go.com/pdf/2012/1201/otl_espn_Brain_study.pdf

Female Athletes and Concussion
More information is being published about the impact of concussion on female athletes. The incidence of concussion in female high school and college athletes has risen since 2001 dramatically. Like their male counterparts female athletes are being diagnosed with concussion more than ever. Nationally, girls soccer ranks just below boys football in high school sports, according to a 2007 study of injuries in high school and college sports by researchers from Ohio State University and the National Collegiate Athletic Association according to published reports. According to Marla Kaufman, M.D. at the University of Washington the problem of concussions in female athletes may be linked to weaker core body muscles that leave them more vulnerable to forces applied to the torso. Dr. Kaufman indicated that women play differently than male athletes. Injuries occur when their bodies collide or when the ladies jump and fall to the turf.  The sport of cheer leading has a high number of female athletes who are injured by concussion – especially among those who “fly” or those on the top of the pyramid.

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