Our Students Literally Had their Heads Examined. Here's Why!
Did you know? Concussions account for nearly 15% of all sports-related injuries for young people, ages 15-24. With that in mind, Beaumont Hospital created the Concussion Health Awareness Management Program (CHAMP) to provide concussion education and screening. Beaumont's Neuroscience Outreach Coordinator Lori Sheridan recently visited us and brought the program to the Downtown Boxing Gym.
"CHAMP is a concussion injury prevention program focused on student athletes," Sheridan explains. "Each participating student athlete receives a baseline test and participates in a student-based educational program to promote awareness and understanding of concussion."
Sports are the second leading cause of traumatic brain injury behind motor vehicle crashes, Sheridan adds. It's estimated that 14% of all student-athletes in the U.S. suffer a concussion at least once in their high school years and that 16.8% of high school athletes suffering a concussion had previously suffered a sports-related concussion, either that season or in a previous season. The goal of CHAMP is to prevent serious and repetitive brain injury.
All concussions are serious, with or without a loss of consciousness. Anywhere from a few minutes to a few days after a concussion, the brain can be vulnerable to changes in pressure, blood flow and oxygen levels. Concussions can cause physical, cognitive and emotional changes including fatigue, memory loss, poor concentration, depression, dramatic mood swings and even addiction. When an athlete receives more than one concussion, the risk dramatically increases for slower recovery and long-term problems. Repeated concussions can cause extensive and permanent brain damage or even death.
"The health and safety of our students is always our number one concern," says Downtown Boxing Gym executive director Jessica Hauser. "We are thankful for this program and the time and attention Beaumont has paid to our students. What an important mission that is truly making an impact."
Student athletes who complete the CHAMP program have their own test results for their physician to compare should they sustain a concussion. The educational component ensures that students are able to define concussion, list the signs and symptoms and understand the role of screening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussion symptoms usually fall into four categories:
- Fuzzy or blurry vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to noise or light
- Balance problems
- Feeling tired, having no energy
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Feeling "slowed down"
- Trouble concentrating
- Difficulty remembering new information
- Feeling more emotional
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Sleeping more or less than usual
- Trouble falling asleep
CHAMP is 100% paid for through philanthropic funds and is offered to student athletes free of charge. Students who suffer a concussion can be seen within 72 hours of injury at the Beaumont Concussion Clinic, staffed by neuroscience trained healthcare professionals. An after-hours phone line is manned by nurses so patients, family members and coaches can also call in for emergency and non-emergency advice.