By Shelby Wye
Quinte Pediatrics Association is already ahead of the game for Safe Kids’ concussion safety week.
Prior to the minor league football’s start, they made it a requirement for their athletes to participate in ImPACT Concussion Testing. This identifies a “baseline brain”, and makes it easier to identify a concussion if it occurs. It uses simple tests including matching games and memory, two skills that are affected when a concussion happens.
“The parents loved the idea of it,” said Dr. Paul Dempsey, of Quinte Pediatrics.
Dempsey is no stranger to concussions, and strives to make every week ‘safe kid week’. He said that 50 per cent of the athletic-related injuries that come into his office are concussions.
“The problem is that a lot of these athletes really just want to get back on the field, but a concussion takes time,” said Dempsey, “I just want them to ask themselves, is it better to rest for a week and be back on the field, or keep going and have symptoms that last for months?”
He recognizes that it’s difficult for some concussions to be identified.
“People recognize that a hard head-bump followed by unconsciousness is a sure sign, but you can get a concussion without passing out,” he said.
Migraines, vision problems, a feeling of confusion, and even moodiness are all symptoms that the brain might’ve hit the skull harder than the athlete might have thought.
“Every concussion is different, and the symptoms can vary greatly,” he said.
Dempsey is in favour of the recent change in peewee hockey. Body checking will no longer be allowed for players under 13 years old. He believes that each sport should look at its rules and equipment for the best options to keep the kids safe.
“There’s no way to say that every sport should have helmets, but each sport should try to reduce the amount of concussions that are possible by introducing rules or safety equipment,” he said.
He also advised parents, coaches and anyone who is interested to look into ImPACT Concussion Testing. It provides the training to accurately identify and treat concussions when they happen.