About 70 area coaches, school nurses, activity directors and others gathered Friday in the Heckart Performing Arts Center at Smith-Cotton High School to learn about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of concussions in student-athletes during a seminar presented by Bothwell Regional Health Center, the Missouri Orthopedic Institute and Sedalia School District 200.
The session included discussions of concussion incidences in young athletes, the need to create a plan of action to address affected athletes, sideline and locker room management, and methods and timelines for returning students first to the classroom and then to the playing field.
Dawn Belmore, a recreational and club sports athletic trainer at the University of Missouri-Columbia, told the group that a student who typically is outgoing and high performing in school can become quiet, moody and disruptive after a traumatic brain injury, and the priority must be to help the student through the process of recovery, which can include short-term academic accommodations such as advance notes for a class discussion.
Bryan Smith, S-C’s athletic trainer, stressed the mindset of “when in doubt, sit them out.” He also noted that every athlete and every head injury is different, so comprehensive and often repeated evaluation is needed.
The seminar was an enhancement included in Sedalia 200’s contract with Bothwell for athletic training services.