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UH Ahuja Medical Center offers leading-edge sports injury and concussion education testing and care

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Awareness leads to effective prevention and treatment of traumatic orthopaedic and brain injuries

Beachwood, Ohio—As the weather improves, Northeast Ohioans become more active more often. This seasonal increase in physical activity and competitive sports is accompanied by a greater likelihood of sports injuries and concussion. Experts from University Hospitals (UH) Ahuja Medical Center urge adults and children to be mindful of reducing the chances for orthopaedic and brain injuries, as well as the importance of recognizing them and seeking immediate treatment.

Springtime sports injuries are common in “weekend warriors” who do too much too fast. “With warmer weather we often see adults who immediately run great distances without the proper build-up or conditioning, so they end up with a stress fracture or other overuse injury,” says J. Britten Shroyer, MD, board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and fellowship-trained sports medicine physician at UH Ahuja Medical Center.

Especially with children, Dr. Shroyer reinforces that if a sports injury is not completely rehabilitated, they stand to lose even more time later. “With injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), for example, teens and young adults are often pushed or self-motivated to return to action before they’re ready,” says Dr. Shroyer. “This can be problematic, long-term.”

With concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), symptoms can include headache, dizziness, nausea, blackouts, confusion and difficulty concentrating. “When any of these symptoms occur, it’s vital that the person stop the activity and seek medical attention,” says Christopher M. Bailey, PhD, UH Ahuja Medical Center neuropsychologist and Director, Concussion Program, University Hospitals Neurological Institute. “Normal recovery time for a sports concussion is two weeks, but recovery can take months or longer, particularly with a concussion due to a fall, automobile accident or battle trauma.”

Dr. Bailey stresses that athletes should be fully recovered from a concussion before they return to sports and place themselves at risk for new injuries. Repeated concussions, especially without complete recovery, can lead to poor outcomes—possibly even degenerative brain conditions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

Concussion awareness and the prevention of CTE are passionate commitments of former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Reggie Rucker. During his 13-year NFL career, Mr. Rucker was officially diagnosed with four concussions. More than three decades after his retirement, he experiences recurring symptoms.

“I recommend that you not allow your child to have any helmet-to-helmet contact before the age of 14,” says Mr. Rucker, Member, UH Ahuja Medical Center Board of Directors. “Make a positive decision that will impact the life of your child 25 to 30 years from now, because symptoms of multiple concussions may not manifest themselves until they are in their early to mid-40s. That’s what happened to me.”

As a part of University Hospitals, UH Ahuja Medical Center offers the community the most advanced education; training; baseline and diagnostic testing; treatment; and long-term management of sports injuries and concussion available. Its range of clinical expertise is delivered by a diverse team of multidisciplinary specialists working together to focus on the best possible outcome for each patient.

To learn more about the complete sports medicine, orthopaedic and neurologic capabilities offered at UH Ahuja Medical Center, visit www.uhahuja.org and click “Services.”

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