This fall, students are heading back to school and back to the sports fields. With lots of physical activity there is always the possibility of getting a sports injury. Munson Medical Center in Traverse City is sending their athletic trainers to schools to make sure everyone is well taken care of in the event of an injury.
Licensed athletic trainer Amy Ream has over 20 years experience working in sports medicine. Through the Munson Sports Medicine program, trainers like Amy are teaming up with schools in the Grand Traverse County area. Those trainers are there to make sure all student athletes stay safe on the field and treat any injuries sustained, especially concussions.
"It's not like a knee or an ankle....you only get one brain," Ream said.
Director of the Munson Sports Medicine program, Dr. Mark Davenport says concussions can happen in any sport. They are often seen in hockey, soccer, football, and even non-contact sports like basketball.
"It's a rotational acceleration type phenomenon that can occur without any head to head contact," Davenport said.
When an athlete feels like they took a hard hit, trainers like Amy are there to assess the damage. She says she looks for all the symptoms of a concussion and has other resources to signal signs of a head injury. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, or SCAT is used to evaluate an athlete after an impact to the head. The results are then compared to how the athlete did on the same test at the beginning of the year before any injuries. Medical officials say this is why it's so important that athletes be honest about their injuries and not gloss them over in attempts to get back out on the field.
"Those injuries are cumulative and not reversible so they're only hurting themselves if they don't communicate their symptoms accurately," Davenport said.
An athlete may even look and feel fine, so it's up to the trainers to make sure they are ready to get back on the field.
"The signs and symptoms don't always show up right away...it could be a day or two later," Ream said.
For more information on the Munson Sports Medicine program, visit their website.