New option to protect students with concussions

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Concussions can turn into a serious brain injury and recovery requires resting the body and the brain.

Now parents have an option to open up the dialogue between physicians and teachers when any student sustains a head injury.

Kellie Jackson has a son who plays football and sitting on the sidelines, watching him take hits, makes her worry about him getting injured, especially concussions.

“It’s a brain injury, it's extremely significant, anything that has to do with the brain is paramount to some other conditions," said Jackson.

Not only is Jackson a concerned parent, but she's also a volunteer on the Concussion Task Force, which is a group of physicians and trainers who've been working on creating better options for parents whose child sustains a concussion.

Paul Cain, the District 51 Athletic Director and volunteer on the Concussion Task Force, saw a need for the change.

“Right now we can't talk. The school district and the physicians can't communicate to each other with HIPPA rules and stuff like that. What this will do is open up those communications," says Cain.

If a child has a brain injury, parents can sign a Protocol and Common Practice Form, a release allowing physicians and schools to communicate with each other.

“We're making academic accommodations to relieve and rest their brain. The physician’s office really needs to be aware of that so that those kids can be returned [to regular activity] at the proper time, right now that dialogue isn't always in place," said Cain.

Dr. Danny Mistry, who practices at Western Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and is also on the Concussion Task Force, feels concussion management is extremely important for students.

“We really do not know how the brain is going to function 10 to 15 years down the road, if we don't take good care of the brain now,” said Mistry.

And the outdoor lifestyle of the Grand Valley is just another reason why it's important for everyone to be informed about concussions.

“The mountain biking, the skiing and the snowboarding, and all the outdoor sports that we indulge ourselves in, I think that awareness needs to be everywhere, but the awareness is heightened by the fact that we live in a very active community," said Mistry.

Currently, Community Hospital is the only hospital that offers parents the option of signing the release for schools and physicians if their child sustains a concussion.

Officials on the Concussion Task Force say their efforts are a work in progress and hope in the near future other area hospitals will offer the release form.

The Concussion Task Force has been working on implementing better policies for concussions for the past three years.

On July 18th there will be a concussion seminar in our community where you can learn more about traumatic head injuries.

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