Lacrosse Injuries: National ImPACT Concussion Management Program

“…youths heal more quickly than adults in every area but damage to the brain. And then it takes them seven times longer…”

Locker helps administer the local version of the national ImPACT Concussion Management Program, which is also offered through the Ben Hogan Sports Therapy Institute at Harris Methodist in Fort Worth.

The process is not only cheap, it’s painless. Kids answer on-line questions to establish a baseline result. Once a concussion is suspected, they take the 40-minute test again.

If the results are significantly different, athletes are held out of competition until the tests return to normal.

Maybe you need to understand what constitutes a concussion. You don’t have to get knocked out. You might just “get your bell rung.”

A headache could be a sign. Dizziness. Nausea. Blurred vision. Slurred speech. A dozen symptoms in all.

If symptoms worsen, chances are you need to see a doctor.

Here’s why it’s important: Concussions can cause serious long-term damage to anyone, but kids are particularly susceptible.

Locker says youths heal more quickly than adults in every area but damage to the brain. And then it takes them seven times longer.

The difference helps explain why young people are far more susceptible to something called second impact syndrome, a rare but fatal condition that occurs when victims suffer at least two relatively minor concussions in a short time span.

Among those Locker has benched was a Midlothian football player who has committed to Tennessee. The kid wasn’t happy about it, either.

After a week off, his perspective changed.

“I feel a lot better,” he told Locker.

Hayden Wilson figured something was wrong during a game against Fort Worth All Saints on Sept. 19. A 5-6, 145-pound freshman playing on the Episcopal School of Dallas varsity, Hayden, son of Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Wade Wilson, collided with another player in the first quarter.

By halftime, Hayden had a headache. The glare of the stadium lights bothered him, too.

Fortunately, ESD’s athletic trainer recognized the symptoms and made the proper request.

“Can I have your helmet?”

Wilson didn’t get it back until last week.

In the old days, he might have returned to practice after a few days. But the discrepancy between his tests and his baseline results indicated he wasn’t ready.

“I’m really glad that our school has come on board with this,” said Wilson’s mother, Kathy Troutt. “So many kids want to go right back in, and Hayden was no exception.

“I have to tell him, ‘This is your head we’re talking about.’ ”

Locker has tested 2,400 kids representing 20 clubs and schools. He hopes to reach 4,000 by year’s end.

Organizations can purchase 300 tests for $500. Individuals can buy them for $10.

And it’s not just for football players, either. Frankly, no athlete is immune. A recent study by Major League Baseball showed foul tips off a catcher’s mask can cause concussions.

Don’t get me wrong about sports participation. Both my sons play football and baseball. Watching them gives me as much pleasure as they get from it. But I recognize the possibilities, too.

In 1997, I wrote about a distance runner from Round Rock, Texas, who took up Golden Gloves boxing. In his fourth fight and second in as many days, he collapsed after a shot to his left temple.

His father taped the fight. I watched the video. I saw Dylan Baker crumble to the canvas.

“Fell over dead,” is how his father put it.

The coroner ruled second impact syndrome. The reason their oldest son died was some comfort to his parents when I explained it to them, but not nearly enough.

Now that you know what it means, maybe you understand the importance of Locker’s mission. So far this year, he’s held 16 athletes out of action. Sixteen kids no longer in danger. Here’s hoping he benches a bunch more.



• Headache (especially increasing in intensity*)

• Nausea and vomiting*

• Difference in pupil size from right to left eye or dilated pupils*

• Mental confusion/behavior changes

• Dizziness

• Memory loss

• Ringing in ears

• Changes in gait or balance

• Blurry or double vision*

• Slurred speech*

• Noticeable changes in consciousness (difficulty awakening or losing consciousness suddenly)*

• Seizure activity*

• Decreased or irregular pulse or respiration*

*Seek medical attention at the nearest emergency department

One response to “Lacrosse Injuries: National ImPACT Concussion Management Program

  1. If a simple mouth guard can prevent concussions why isn’t the NFL all over it?
    1 comment

    October 20, 7:35 AM

    by Paula Duffy, Sports Examiner

    Last week the Palm Beach Post published a story about a player for the NHL’s Florida Panthers who agreed to donate his brain for research to the Sports Injury Institute. It is working in conjunction with Boston University’s School of Medicine to expand the base of knowledge in the area of how concussions and other sports injuries affect an athlete’s brain function.

    Stories have been written about athletes, especially retired NFL players, whose brains were so severely damaged that they appeared to belong to men decades older or those that were in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

    The NFL has been engulfed in controversy for some time now about whether it believes that concussions and on-field head trauma contribute to a lack of brain function and disease in later life. As a lawyer I understand their disinterest in connecting the dots for purposes of building a trail of blame and liability. What I don’t understand is why they wouldn’t endorse something that is simple, relatively inexpensive and effective.

    They have mandated use of a chin strap on a player’s helmet which an NFL team dentist says directly contributes to concussions because of the positioning of the jaw and the likelihood that the bone will strike the temporal lobe of the brain. And while a concussion policy in the league has been instituted to prevent players from being forced back onto the field without regard to their health, prevention seems to be the solution in the long run, at least to me.

    After I wrote about Trent Green and the fears for him returning to the game after the most severe level of concussion identified by medical professionals, I heard from Mark Picot of Mahercor Laboratories, LLC. Headed up by Gerald Maher, the aforementioned Patriots’ team dentist, who has worked with them for decades, Mahercor Labs has developed a mouth guard specifically to help prevent concussions. Hundreds of current and former Patriots players are enthusiastic customers and take their knowledge with them as they join other teams. Dr. Maher’s product is currently used in high school, college and professional sports including hockey, lacrosse and football. Mahercor’s website contains information about its latest market: the military.

    It not only assists in keeping injuries from being catastrophic, it has been shown, in anedcotal evidence to keep the athletes from incurring concussions in the first place.

    And while the NFL is acutely aware of Dr. Maher, his product and the success rate with the Patriots and other athletes in the league, there hasn’t been a meeting between them that has resulted in any progress towards showcasing the effectiveness of the device. There was an invitation from Commissioner Goodell for Dr. Maher to present his data to a group in Ottawa but Maher declined. His reason was simply that the research in Ottawa was being conducted on test dummies and not human beings. Individual athletes or NFL teams are free to work with Dr. Maher if they choose. But if you just haven’t heard about the mouth guard and rely on the NFL’s recommendation you probably aren’t aware od it or if you are, then you might not be convinced of the effectiveness of the device.

    As each weekend goes by and another athlete goes down to a concussion (this weekend a three-player collision in the Tampa Bay/Seattle game netted one and perhaps two) I wonder when the players in the NFL will learn that waiting for the league to put its stamp of approval on something could jeopardize their health.

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