VIDEO: Concussion Victims Speak at GMHS
By FALLS CHURCH TIMES STAFF
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.
By Falls Church Times Staff
March 2, 2012