As the focus on concussion in the athletic and scholastic community is growing significantly, a need is present in the community served by the Bon Secours Charity Health System for appropriate concussion education, prevention, diagnosis and management. This need is recognized by both state and federal lawmakers who have made significant strides towards a more expertly derived and systematically implemented set of guidelines to address this problem. Chief among state and federal guidelines is the need for educational updates on concussion for coaches, athletes and parents, timely identification of possible concussion by event officials and athletic trainers, appropriate diagnosis by a physician specifically trained in concussion as well as implementation and coordination of management by those same physicians. These guidelines also call for the availability of computerized neurocognitive testing to aid in the diagnosis and management of concussion.
The Bon Secours Concussion Management Program was created by Dr. Nicholas Belasco, D.O., CIC, in response to this need. It provides an all-inclusive service to school systems, as well as club teams and other local sports organizations, who would like to make sure they comply with the rapidly developing federal guidelines on concussion as well as provide the best possible care to their athletes who suffer from concussion.
Developed by clinical experts who pioneered the field, ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is the most widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT provides trained clinicians with neurocognitive assessment tools and services that have been medically accepted as state-of-the-art best practices as part of determining safe return to play decisions.
Dr. Belasco is the only concussion specialist in the region who is a credentialed ImPACT consultant. Using tools such as the ImPACT Concussion Management Model, ImPACT addresses the need for an accurate, medically accepted assessment system that is used as a part of an overall concussion management protocol. This Model builds partnerships with healthcare professionals and athletic trainers to offer training and resources for affordable concussion management. ImPACT benefits athletes at all levels of play, from professional sports teams to students and their parents.
Additionally, Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is now available and has the potential to help physicians understand concussions by providing quantitative measurements of the subtle changes within the white matter tissue in the brain following a concussion. DTI is performed by using an MRI machine that is equipped with specialized software that measures the movement of water in nerve fibers in the brain. Mild concussion is difficult to diagnose because often the brain appears quite normal on conventional MRI so the solution is to use neuroimaging tools such as DTI to detect brain injuries in mild traumatic brain injury.
Thanks to the Bon Secours Concussion Management Program, every school system, no matter how small, has the opportunity to provide the kind of concussion education and care previously only manageable by the largest and best supported colleges and universities. It also allows schools that have already started implementing concussion services to bring their programs to the next level of excellence.
Please call Dr. Belasco at 845-291-0966 if you would like more information about the Bon Secours Concussion Management Program.