GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. A Colorado mom and a team of professionals are changing how athletes, parents and coaches view, treat and manage sports-related concussions.
"It's all about being educated and knowing what to do," said Kelli Jantz, who lost her son to second impact syndrome in 2004. "I think it's gone a long way in protecting kids."
Jantz spoke about her personal experiences with the horrors of concussions at a seminar at Colorado Mesa University Saturday.
Jantz's son, Jake Snakenberg, was 14 years old when he got a concussion at a football game, didn't realize it then suffered from second impact syndrome at a game a week later.
"He got up and turned to come to the sidelines because something was very wrong and then he went down again and he never got back up," she said.
Snakenberg may have died from his injuries, but his legacy lives on in Jantz and her mission to educate others about concussions.
Jantz worked to pass the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act here in Colorado, which regulates how schools deal with concussions in their athletes.
"A concussion is a cellular injury, so the cells are compromised," said Karen McAvoy, the director of the Center for Concussion at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. "They're just not as efficient. During the period of recovery in order for them to heal themselves they need less demands put on them."
An impact to the head or body plus symptoms like headaches, nausea, fogginess and confusion could be signs of a concussion.
Experts recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible to receive a proper diagnosis then resting to allow the brain cells to heal.
McAvoy uses the acronym REAP to help her patients beat concussions:
-Remove/reduce physical and mental activities
-Educate about symptoms
-Adjust/accommodate while recovering
-Pace to reintroduce activity
90% of concussions clear up within three weeks, but proper rest and treatment are necessary to ensure no further complications.
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