Experts Discuss Concussion on Health Matters

doctor wrapping young man's head

It's a topic that gets a lot of attention these days – for a reason.

Concussion can be serious for students, and families need to know the basics to keep young people healthy and happy for years to come.

The first episode of the fifth season of Health Matters with Doylestown Health features two concussion experts discussing symptoms, treatment and recovery from concussion.

Michelle Horn, DO is board certified in family medicine and sports medicine and specializes in non-surgical sports medicine and concussion management in athletes and children. Dr. Horn grew up in Bucks County and graduated from Central Bucks West High School. She is a team physician for local high school football teams.

The episode starts with a look at what is a concussion. Dr. Horn explains a concussion is an injury to the brain that affects the way the brain functions. This can be caused by a hit to the head or a blow to the body.

Dr. Horn continues by talking about how concussion is diagnosed and how symptoms vary from individual to individual. "Every concussion is very, very unique," says Dr. Horn.

In general, symptoms may include headache, nausea, dizziness and difficulty concentrating or focusing. There may also be emotional changes and problems with sleep.

When it comes to long-term health effects of concussion, Dr. Horn discusses Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE and the link between this condition and multiple brain traumas.

Dr. Horn also addresses steps to recovery for concussion, which on average last one to two weeks but can linger for three to four weeks. She emphasizes the need to take breaks when returning to sports and school.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Horn talks about the sports that see the most concussion. It's not just football. Women's sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and field hockey tend to generate a good number of concussions, as well.

The Health Matters episode continues with guest Karen Bartnett, RN, CRNP, a Central Bucks East High School certified school nurse. Karen talks specifically about how Central Bucks Schools manage concussions in students, as well as how the district educates students about concussion.

All student athletes must attend a concussion seminar, where they learn the importance of reporting symptoms. They also learn about concussion in Anatomy & Physiology and Health & Physical Education classes.

"The district is educating students about this in a variety of ways," says Karen.

The show takes another look at symptoms, as well as how students are slowly reintroduced to school through the district's collaborative Return to Learn protocol. Karen also talks about student athletes returning to sports.

Karen notes that concussion is a growing problem, not just in sports but through other injuries, as well. Managing concussion is a collaborative process, she adds.

"It is really important for families to know the schools want to work with them. We do have very strict protocols to help students and families get through this pretty stressful time."

About Pediatric Services

Doylestown Health is an independent, not-for-profit, clinically integrated network of care committed to providing family-centered children’s services for the youngest members of our community. Our Della Penna Pediatrics along with our VIA Maternity Center offer maternity care, labor and delivery, neonatology, and perinatology services. We also have broad capabilities in pediatric diagnostic testing, and deliver comprehensive pediatric care throughout our outpatient practices, our Emergency Department at Doylestown Hospital, and Urgent Care on Swamp Road.  

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