VIDEO: Concussion Victims Speak at GMHS

March 2, 2012

George Mason High School Trainer Vicki Galliher included student concussion victims and their parents in a compelling presentation at GMHS last week on the causes and effects of this common traumatic brain injury.

Galliher also included detailed representations of healthy and concussed brains and a video of former LaSalle University athlete Preston Plevretes, who in failing to allow a first concussion to heal before resuming play, set himself up for a tragic “second-impact” syndrome.  Once a specimen of athletic prowess, the hard hit that Plevretes took in his fourth game following the initial injury left him extremely disabled and barely able to speak.  Today he spends most of his time silently sitting in a wheelchair in his parents’ home.

To help avoid second-impact syndrome among GMHS students, Galliher became a pioneer in the adoption of “neurocognitive” testing among high schools.  Using a computer-based program developed at the University of Pittsburgh Health Center, Galliher tests GMHS athletes before they begin high-risk sports in order to form a “baseline” of their healthy-state cognitive abilities, allowing her to retest an affected athlete later if a concussion is suspected in order to look for changes in their cognitive abilities which would indicate a brain injury.  One parent and youth coach related that it was Galliher’s testing, rather than a doctor’s examination, which detected his son’s concussion.

An significant part of the presentation focused on detection and recovery.  When Galliher’s testing methodology shows a concussion has occurred, Galliher has the athlete retake the test periodically until he or she has again reached the baseline performance level, indicating full recovery.  In the interim, the Mason trainer supervises a modified study curriculum for the student, excluding physical activity and brain-draining everyday activities like using a computer or watching television.

But it was the words of two current GMHS athletes who have suffered concussions, and the accounts of their parental care requirements, that left the audience spellbound and teary-eyed.  One of the young men, still recovering from the injury, described the difficulties he has faced while his brain heals.  The second student, a victim of four concussions, related his decision to give up a sport he loves rather than risk long term memory loss.

The video, provided courtesy of FCC-TV, is one hour 30 minutes long.

March 2, 2012 


3 Responses to “VIDEO: Concussion Victims Speak at GMHS”

  1. Colleen Butler on March 4th, 2012 6:04 pm

    This is an excellent presentation.
    I think it is so important to have people realize medically there are a lot of concussions undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
    It is important that individuals speak up; we assume our Doctors know everything.
    It is difficult!
    It is also difficult living with a concussion when you are told there is nothing wrong with you.
    Once the danger of the bruising or bleeding is over there are many tools for a concussed brain that can be tapped into.
    Having gone through the experience myself I have a book being published this month, Unexpected Journey that has many tools for recovery for a concussed person, that may help the families and the concussed. The book is written for the concussed person, from the inside out.
    Once again your program is excellent along with a wonderful presentation!
    Our challenge now is, how do we keep our youth active and safe.

  2. Concerned individual, falls church on March 13th, 2012 8:14 pm

    If concussions are really this big of a problem, then perhaps the schools should protect their students (and themselves) by ceasing all school sponsored activities in which there is physical contact and/or projectiles of any kind. This would sharply reduce the risk of any concussion related injury to the students, and protect the system from litigation stemming from these injuries.

  3. Jill Gryskevicz Wattsburg PA on February 10th, 2014 8:05 pm

    Wow! Extremely well done. Physiology of the brain critical to the understanding of the full spectrum of concussion. Also, the impact on daily life. I can only begin to grasp what recovery must be like for the whole family. The BEST tool in addressing this topic is the education you provided. Thanks

Feel free to leave a comment. Please increase the credibility of your post by including your FULL NAME and CITY. All comments are subject to editing for courtesy and content.