Concussion training: Advice for parents, athletes, today

Coaches and athletes need to know how to respond if a player is concussed. Photo: ErnestDuffoo/Creative Commons

A recently published report suggests that 600,000 youth concussions occur yearly in the U.S., about double the 300,000 commonly estimated. The figure is extrapolated from a survey out of Massachusetts that found that 3,000 youth athletes from 164 schools suffered concussions last year.

Schools and parents try to take measures to protect their kids from potentially devastating concussions which happen across many sports, including, but not limited to, football, soccer and boxing. But, especially in football, the only true shield is to prevent the contacts that lead to the concussions in the first place. Even helmets don’t actually protect the brain.

Research in the field is expanding and with it come some frightening statistics. It’s of particular concern for high school athletes as their brain cells still developing.

Berkeley resident Cindy Chang was the Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Olympic team. She’s also the parent of a Berkeley High athlete and is inviting all parents of high school athletes to an Advanced Concussion Training talk tonight at Berkeley High School.

“Athletes need to know what a concussion looks like in their teammates and what it feels like for themselves,” said Chang. “Coaches and trainers need to know how to respond in the moment. Properly concussion-specific trained doctors need to know when to release an athlete back onto the field. And parents need to educate themselves and be their child’s advocate.”

She adds that Berkeley High’s new Athletic Director Allison Smith, is making concussion a priority topic.

Chang will be accompanied at the one-hour session by Ben Lynch, former California Golden Bear and San Francisco 49er football player, Eric Freitag, co-chair with Chang of the California Concussion Coalition and President-Elect of the Northern California Neuropsychology Forum, and Casey Batten, UC Berkeley Head Team Physician.

The Advanced Concussion Training session takes place today, Oct. 29, 8:00-9:00 p.m. at the Florence Schwimley Little Theater on the Berkeley High campus. Read the flyer for more information.

Kill two birds with one stone! Also tonight on the Berkeley High campus: All six of Berkeley’s mayoral candidates have said they will attend a Mayoral Forum organized by the student-run Diverse Political Views Club — 7:00-8:00 p.m. at the BHS Library. Read more here.

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  • julie

    I am really glad to see this happening with our youth who are athletic. Thanks, Ms. Chang. I’m also glad you support the pools bond, N and O. 

  • Guest

    This is a wonderful service to the community. Thank you!

  • Ann Engelland, MD

    Great Idea, an Advanced Concussion Training Talk for parents.  It takes a village to prevent and manage head injuries in our kids.  My book, It’s All in Your Head:Everyone’s Guide to Managing Concussions is now available in Ebook or paperback to help all in the community to Recognize, Respond, enforce Rest and Reassess after an injury.  It’s easily available with one click at
    Good work, Berkeley High!
    Ann Engelland, MD

  • Iceland_1622

    We are staring to make progress with this complex subject as it’s effects are subtle and insidious.  After 19 years I still have major issues and struggles just attempting to do off site laundry.

    Mild TBI Symptoms

    A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be classified as mild if loss of
    consciousness and/or confusion and disorientation is shorter than 30
    minutes. While MRI and CAT scans are often normal, the individual has
    cognitive problems such as headache, difficulty thinking, memory
    problems, attention deficits, mood swings and frustration. These
    injuries are commonly overlooked.  Even though this type of TBI is
    called “mild”, the effect on the family and the injured person can be