While concussions are most commonly associated with sports-related injuries, associate professor Anthony Acquavella, MD, at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, says prevention and awareness begins by recognizing that these brain injuries can also result from slips and falls, playground injuries, and car accidents.
“Concussions are a force to be reckoned with because they are traumatic brain injuries that need to be identified and treated as soon as they occur to help prevent further complications, or even death,” said Dr. Acquavella, who also serves as a physician for the University’s student health service.
While March is designated as National Brain Injury Awareness Month, Dr. Acquavella said concussions and head injuries affect hundreds of individuals each day. Approximately 1.7 million people suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year, and concussions represent about 75 percent of those injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Earlier this year, a USciences student suffered a concussion from a fall significant enough to take a medical leave from school, as concussion treatment requires thorough brain rest,” said Dr. Acquavella.
While concussions are typically caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, they can also occur from impact to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth, such as an injury suffered during a car accident. Observed signs of head injuries, includes individuals appearing dazed or stunned, forgetful, clumsy, and moody. Additionally, symptoms reported by individuals, includes headaches, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, and sensitivity to noise and light.
As of 2011, Pennsylvania has a law on the books which mandates that student athletes exhibiting concussion symptoms cannot return to play until cleared by appropriate healthcare professionals. But Dr. Acquavella said concussion awareness also needs to be a household conversation.
“I worked as a sideline physician for young athletes early in my career, and it was alarming how parents minimized the severity of head injuries in their children,” he said. “Concussion awareness begins by getting students, parents, teachers, and coaches on the same page with the causes, symptoms, and outcomes of head injuries.”
Individuals suspecting they might have a concussion are urged to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Dr. Acquavella received his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine, and MPH from George Washington University School of Public Health. For assistance in making arrangements to interview Dr. Acquavella, contact Lauren Whetzel (firstname.lastname@example.org, 215.596.8864) or Brian Kirschner (email@example.com, 215.895.1186).
At University of the Sciences, students embark on a challenging learning experience in a proving ground for successful professionals in the science and healthcare-related fields. A private institution dedicated to education, research, and service, and distinguished as the North America’s first college of pharmacy, the University has produced leaders in the science and healthcare marketplaces since its founding in 1821. Students in USciences’ five colleges learn to excel in scientific analysis and to apply their skills to improving healthcare in the lives of people worldwide through such disciplines as pharmacy, biology, chemistry, psychology, physics, physical therapy, healthcare business, and health policy. For more information, visit usciences.edu.
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