February Physician Focus: Concussions

The severity and potential of long-term health effects of concussions are now recognized at all levels of sports, from the professional ranks to youth leagues.

To add to the public awareness of this injury, the February episode of Physician Focus features Dr. Ann McKee (photo, seated), Chief of Neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System, Professor of Neurology and Pathology and Director of the Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Center at the Boston University School of Medicine, and one of the nation’s foremost experts on the effects of concussion and head trauma. Hosting this edition is Dale Magee, M.D. (photo, standing), a past president of the Massachusetts Medical Society.

While acknowledging the multiple benefits that young people gain by participating in sports, Dr. McKee offers valuable, basic information on what she characterizes as an “invisible injury,” one that carries no recognizable signs of harm such as bleeding or pain.

The conversation includes information on many aspects of the injury: its symptoms, difficulty of diagnosis, what to do with a player when a concussion is suspected, gender differences in susceptibility to the injury, as well as the dangers of second and multiple concussions, “sub-concussive” impacts to the head, and the development of “skill sets” by athletes to reduce the risk of concussion in sports.

Physician Focus is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts and online at www.physicianfocus.org, www.massmed.org/physicianfocus, and YouTube.

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