September 20 marks the third year for the annual awareness day, which aims to create a dialogue about concussion
Concussion is a common issue that’s receiving growing attention. But we still have miles to go in research, treatment and awareness. Recognized annually on September 20, National Concussion Awareness Day is a chance to start a conversation and increase concussion awareness, raise funds for charitable organizations dedicated to brain injury and show support for those affected through social media, community events and press coverage.
In the U.S. alone, there are between 1.6 million and 3.6 million recreational and sports-related concussions each year. But despite the frequency of these injuries, many people don’t understand concussions enough to know when they have occurred. For example, 90% of sports-related concussions take place without the individual losing consciousness. But many people still think someone can only be concussed if they are knocked out.
Not only that, but 40% of athletes with concussions return to play before they should. This puts them at risk for additional injury. Some of this is because many physicians do not fully understand concussion.
“If healthcare providers don’t fully understand concussions, they might return someone to a sport or work before the patient is fully recovered,” says Dr. John Leddy, Medical Director at the University at Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic and International Concussion Society president. “That is why it is important for health care providers to recognize and diagnose concussion. They must try to establish what it means for somebody to be fully recovered.”
Shortage of Professionals
As concussion gains more of an international spotlight, there’s still a shortage of doctors equipped to handle concussions.
“Concussions will more than likely affect every family in America, but we have so few trained experts,” says Ken Shubin Stein, chairman of the ICS Board of Directors. “We don’t even have agreed upon protocols and understandings. It’s important to begin educating all stakeholders to spread awareness. We only understand the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is considered the most common traumatic brain injury.”
National Concussion Awareness Day brings everyone together for a cause that Concussion.Org champions every day. On September 20, ICS stands with healthcare workers, teachers, coaches and parents to raise awareness about the importance of recognizing a concussion, treating it appropriately and supporting the injured.