Through a major community partnership, the Houston Texans and quarterback Matt Schaub have joined the Methodist Concussion Center to educate thousands of student athletes, coaches and athletic trainers throughout the greater Houston area on the dangers and proper medical management of concussions.
More than three million people in the United States suffer head injuries each year, many of them from playing recreational and professional sports. The National Football League recently announced a nationwide concussion program focused on ways to prevent concussion and minimize its effects. Also, the federal government recently has held committee hearings on this issue. In response to the growing need in the community, Methodist created the Center, which features a dedicated team of concussion specialists who provide diagnosis, treatment and education services, and chose to partner with the Texans, which already have several youth football programs in place that offer a natural fit for this community partnership.
"The NFL is taking steps to make professional football a safer game. Students, their coaches and athletic trainers should also be educated on how to make their games safer," said Schaub, who knows first-hand the effects of concussion, after suffering one during a 2007 game. "Having the Methodist Concussion Center and the Texans bring this kind of education and outreach to students will benefit our community, and most importantly, our kids."
Concussion, the most common type of brain injury, is a traumatic injury that occurs from both mild and severe blows to the head. Some head injuries may appear to be mild but research shows that concussions can have serious, long-term effects, especially repeat head injuries or concussions. Each year, there are approximately 3.8 million concussions in sports and recreation throughout the country.
Methodist athletic trainers and members of the Houston Texans staff will collaborate on educational presentations and materials at various schools and organizations. The main goal is to educate coaches, athletic trainers and student athletes on how to identify the symptoms of a concussion, and how to quickly access diagnosis and treatment at Methodist.
The Concussion Center, part of the Methodist Neurological Institute, is the first of its kind in Houston and brings together a network of athletic trainers, a neuropsychologist to assess the degree of injury, and neurologists and neurosurgeons who specialize in treating head injuries.
"While we hear a lot about head injuries in professional sports, keep in mind there are thousands of everyday people who get concussions from recreational sports and vehicle accidents," said Dr. Howard Derman, head of the Methodist Concussion Center and the Houston Texans neurologist. "We have the physicians and staff at Methodist to not only provide comprehensive care for the diagnosis and treatment of concussion and head injury, but we also have the ability to educate our youth on how to prevent injuries from becoming grave or happening in the first place."
Methodist will offer ImPACT testing to student athletes in the community, as well as patients who come to the Concussion Center. ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. It is the first and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system in the nation, and is the gold standard in the NFL for testing players.