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A concussion workshop that can help everyone involved in sport
2022-04-17

No one would dispute the fact that the overall awareness and knowledge surrounding concussions in sport has increased in leaps and bounds over the course of the past decade or two.

Danièle Gervais would like to raise that bar even higher.

The owner of Optimum Health Centre has created a one to two hour presentation aimed to help better recognize the signs and symptoms of a possible concussion, and more importantly, the steps that should be taken prior to the athlete re-engaging in physical activity.

And while her initial target audience lies within the education setting, reaching out to teacher-coaches and educators, the truth is that the information being shared can be extremely valuable to anyone ranging from team staff, to parents and teammates alike.

Given that a group presentation can run in and around a couple of hundred dollars - in total (that's right - not per person - bring together 20 people and it's about $10/person), safe to say that it's a very cost effective offering for anyone involved with youth sports.

"My goal is to provide better care for head trauma, immediately as it occurs," said Gervais, who acknowledged that the post-concussion work being done by the likes of Dr Tara Baldisera, Dr Jairus Quesnele and others, on a local level, is phenomenal.

"But I know that a lot of people who suffer concussions don't really know where to go to get help."

Having already reached out to at least one of the local school boards, receiving an encouraging response, Gervais suggested that the option of personal development day presentations and such undoubtedly make this a somewhat easier audience to reach, en masse.

"The secondary school sport group would be an ideal demographic, just to try and ensure that no trauma would occur and go undiagnosed."

Certainly, some movement towards looking to reach the standards of the government proposed Rowan's Law are apparent, notably on the local high-school football scene, with at least some form of athletic therapy/physio-therapy assistance on hand at each and every game.

"But it's not just football and hockey where it's needed; it's all high risk sports: track and field, basketball, soccer, swimming, gymnastics," said Gervais. "The amount of trainers available is limited, so the education part is just not there enough."

While some form of concussion awareness has now been incorporated into pretty much all standard sports trainer accreditation models, Gervais worries that because of the amount of content that needs to be covered, there simply is not enough time to devote the proper attention to the part of the body that should arguably receive the highest priority: the brain.

"There are still a lot of misconceptions about how to treat concussions, how quickly you can return to play," she said. "If we can tighten things up, there could be less post-concussion symptoms, there would be less second impact syndrome."

"Athletes, parents, coaches - everyone would know the protocol. That's where I think the education needs to be a little more clear on what the return to play protocol is."

For further information regarding this venture, kindly contact Danièle Gervais via email at optimumhealth@eastlink.ca.

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