Raising concussion awareness, one town at a time

January 28, 2013 4:37:28 PM PST
Student athletes, along with their coaches and families are being invited to a very special movie screening tonight in Delaware. The focus of the film--concussions, and how to hopefully prevent them.

The entire Appoquinimink School District around Middletown is invited tonight to an airing of "Head Games," an award-winning documentary on the dangers of sports concussions.

In one clip from the movie, a youth hockey player recalls, "People said I was on the ice 4 or 5 minutes, I don't remember even 20 seconds of it."

Football coach Mark DelPercio wanted his players, players from other sports, and all their families to see the movie to learn more about concussions.

"It's not just getting your bell rung. There's something wrong," he says of a concussion.

He arranged with the Center For Sports Medicine at Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children for the movie viewing. DuPont has shown it to other schedules, and has more showings planned.

The sports and medical worlds have hotly debated the scope of the damage being caused by sports concussions, and ways to reduce them.

The debate has even been noticed in the White House. In an interview with New Republic magazine, President Obama said that if he had a son he wasn't sure he'd let him play football.

Sophomore James Bryan of Middletown High hasn't decided yet whether he will return to football, after suffering a concussion.

It happened during tackling drills at practice. After repeated helmet-to-helmet contact during the drills, a fellow player noticed Bryan wasn't acting normally. He brought it to the attention of team trainer Colleen Kelley.

"I went over to the circuit where he was at. And he was definitely white as a ghost, and wasn't right," says Kelley.

"And we sat him down and did an evaluation before I called his parents," she says.

Bryan spent weeks at home, often in darkness, to allow his brain to heal.

"I had headaches, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound. It's just sort of like I had to be a vegetable, and just kind of sti there, and relax my brain," he recalls.

Kelley has been using IMPACT testing to assess an athlete. She says it's not a be-all, end-all for assessing an athlete, and it's not the only tool her team uses.

"It's really about helping them return to play and seeing how far they have come in their rehab and recovery for a concussion," she says.

Tonight, families will be able to see "Head Games", and hopefully, better discuss the benefits & risks of sports.

Coach DelPercio say, "The more educated you are, the better off you'll be."