Concussion Summit deals with dangers of head trauma in youth sports

BIRMINGHAM, Ala, (WIAT) — A sold out crowd of coaches, athletic trainers, parents and doctors attended a day-long “Cutting Edge Concussion Summit” at Children’s of Alabama Friday.

The event was hosted by UAB Medicine, Children’s of Alabama and the Alabama Head Injury Task Force.

More than a dozen speakers talked about how to identify concussions, the damage they can cause, ways to make practice and play safer, and new technology with helmets to keep players safe.

The summit aimed at making people more aware of the dangers of concussions especially in children and young adults.

“Youth athletes represent the vast majority of athletes in the United States. Collegiate and professional are a very small percentage of that,” pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. James Johnston said.

Former UAB football and NFL player Kevin Drake also spoke from person experience. He recently started the Wise Up Initiative to help raise awareness about education.

“I suffered 10 or more concussions in my playing career so I see the effects of not handling those properly,” Drake said.

He and other speakers said first and foremost, we need to change the attitude and mentality about concussions and head injuries in sports.

“That’s all we’ve known and that’s get up shake it off, you get your bell rung but now we know you get your bell rung; that’s because there’s head trauma and there’s a concussion there,” Drake said.

For more information on concussions and how to spot the symptoms, click here.

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