Q&A: Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska's Concussion Discussions

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According to a 2015 Harris poll, 90 percent of Americans cannot correctly define a concussion, and most did not know the symptoms of a concussion. “Statistics like that are putting our children at risk as they return to the field and the classroom,” said Dr. Kody Moffatt, pediatrician and sports medicine specialist, Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, Omaha.

To help educate people about concussion symptoms, the long-term effects of concussions and the resources available through Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, the organization started hosting “Concussion Discussions” across the state. We sat down with Cathy A. Wyatt, Community Outreach Director at Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, to learn more about these concussion discussions and how donor dollars to CHC-NE are used by Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska.

Why did Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska start holding concussion discussions?
Whether you agree or disagree with the movie, “Concussion,” which is based on the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and stars Will Smith (released on 12-25-15), it brought the issue of traumatic brain injury to light. In short: It got people thinking and talking! Mission-minded, BIA-NE wanted to be instrumental in those discussions. So on Nov. 2, 2016, the very same day Dr. Bennet Omalu came to Omaha, the organization hosted its first event. Held at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, it drew nearly 50 people and was well-received.

What can people expect at a concussion discussion?
Concussion Discussions are 90-minute events. They open with a five-minute video featuring a former high school soccer player from Omaha. Her story is followed by a panel of four experts; each given 10 to 15 minutes to provide an overview of their respective areas: signs, symptoms, treatments, the importance of collaboration, legislative pieces and resources available in Nebraska. The final half hour is reserved for comments and questions from the audience.

Why is it important to know the symptoms of a concussion?
Proper recognition increases the chance of proper management and treatment. Early detection is critical. Not only can it mean greater chances of recovery, it can also mean a reduction in the likelihood of a second occurrence.

What resources are available through Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska to help people with concussions?
In addition to the Concussion Discussions, BIA-NE offers educational materials and statewide support groups. Also, BIA-NE Resource Facilitators help individuals with a concussion and their families identify and access concussion information, services, and supports.

Through leadership of the Nebraska Concussion Coalition, BIA-NE is taking the lead in changing the culture of concussion by encouraging proper recognition and management of concussion.