“Head in the Game" Series Examines Concussion in Sports

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Experts join Move Forward Radio to discuss latest advances in diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of sports concussions.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 3.8 million athletes sustain concussions every year.

As football season gets under way, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) will host a series on concussion in sports called “Head in the Game.” The series will air on Move Forward Radio, a program featuring interviews with physical therapists and other health care experts, produced by MoveForwardPT.com, the official consumer information website of APTA. The series begins at 10 am ET on August 27 and ends with a live broadcast on August 29 at 3 pm ET.

In recent years, concussion has permeated sports headlines and captured the attention of concerned parents, athletes and their loved ones, and the medical community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), up to 3.8 million athletes sustain concussions every year. As evidence grows regarding the long-term and often serious neurological effects of concussion, sports and medical experts are speaking out about how to more effectively protect athletes against injury.

The lineup for the “Head in the Game” series is as follows:

Miller played 9 seasons for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles/St Louis Rams before repeated concussion forced him to leave the game in 1996. A comeback attempt in 1999 was similarly cut short by concussion. In a prerecorded interview, Miller will discuss his personal history with concussion and talk about various changes the NFL has made to protect players.

Mucha is a physical therapist at the Center for Rehabilitative Services at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she specializes in neurovestibular rehabilitation. In a prerecorded interview, Mucha will discuss some of the ways athletes (and those who are not athletes) are tested and treated for concussion, both to return to the playing field and for the benefit of long-term health.

In a live show, Guskiewicz and Ryan will discuss the evolution and current state of concussion management and prevention, and take listener questions. To access the show, listen online or by phone at 646/564-9841. Questions for the guests may be submitted in advance via Twitter by tweeting @MoveForwardPT and using the hashtag #MoveForward, or by calling in to the live show.

Guskiewicz is the founding director of the Mathew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also serves as chair of the Exercise and Sport Science Program.

He has conducted research on sport-related concussion, investigating the effect of concussion in high school and collegiate athletes, the biomechanics of sport concussion, and the long-term neurological effects of concussion in retired professional football players. Guskiewicz will discuss what is currently known about the effects of concussion, current technology, and the future of concussion prevention and treatment.

Ryan is the head athletic trainer/physical therapist of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a position he has held since 1994. Ryan and the Jaguars staff were the recipients of the Ed Block Courage Award’s NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year in 2003. He was previously the assistant athletic trainer/physical therapist for the New York Giants (6 seasons). Ryan is president of the Professional Football Athletic Trainers' Society Research and Education Foundation and a member of the Sports Concussion Medical Advisory Board.

Concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull, causing changes in the brain's chemistry and energy supply. A concussion might happen as a result of a direct blow to the head or an indirect force, such as whiplash. Some symptoms are noticeable immediately following an injury, while others appear gradually.

Following sports concussion, up to 79 percent of patients report dizziness and 56 percent experience balance impairment (1). Physical therapists can evaluate and treat many problems related to concussion and provide a unique contribution to the concussion care management team, particularly in the areas of balance and vestibular evaluation, and rehabilitation.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of concussion, and to learn how a physical therapist can help, see the Physical Therapist’s Guide to Concussion at MoveForwardPT.com.

About APTA
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 80,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at http://www.moveforwardpt.com. Follow us on Twitter (@moveforwardpt) and Facebook.com/MoveForwardPT.

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(1) Lovell MR, Iverson GL, Collins MW, et al. Measurement of symptoms following sports-related concussion: reliability and normative data for the post-concussion scale. Applied Neuropsychology. 2006;13(3):166-174.

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