After Southern California high school football players were taught the mantra "recognize, report, and rest," the student athletes demonstrated a statistically significant change in their knowledge about what a concussion is and about the causes and symptoms of concussion, according to a researcher who will be presenting her findings during the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Annual Convention in San Diego this week.
Approximately 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur annually. Most are sustained by children and youths aged 5–18. One of the many roles speech-language pathologists (SLPs) may play is in educating administrators, athletes, and parents about the signs and symptoms of concussion, the seriousness of ignoring symptoms, and available tools related to concussion education. The CDC reports that recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death, and all coaches, parents, and athletes need to learn concussion signs and symptoms and what to do if a concussion occurs.
According to ASHA member Nancy Cohick, of California State University, Los Angeles, formal educational programs where "recognize, report, and rest" is taught may be of great value in high schools nationwide as a means of minimizing the potential consequences that may occur with repeated concussions, such as headache, dizziness, fatigue, and impaired memory and concentration. In addition, teaching athletes to recognize, report, and rest when they sustain an initial concussion can reduce their risk for a second injury, which could potentially be fatal if the brain has not healed from an initial concussion.
"There are so few speech, language, and cognitive impairments that can truly be prevented, but the serious complications associated with repeated concussions can be minimized," Cohick says. "SLPs who work in schools have access to a large number of athletes who can be educated about the signs and symptoms of concussion, the seriousness of ignoring symptoms, and what to do if they suspect they have sustained a concussion. It’s time to start explicitly teaching athletes and their parents how to respond when a concussion occurs."
Cohick will discuss her findings at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 17, in Room 20D in the San Diego Convention Center (The Role of the SLP in Concussion Education, Session 0991).
Her presentation is part of ASHA's Annual Convention, which begins November 17 at the San Diego Convention Center. The Convention will feature three days of workshops, paper sessions, poster presentations, and the Keynote Session by Jill Bolte Taylor, author of the best-selling book, My Stroke of Insight. The Convention runs through Saturday, November 19.
About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 145,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems including swallowing disorders.
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