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Illinois Athletic Trainers and Physicians Offer Handy Wallet Card to Tackle Concussions 'Head On'

CHICAGO, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to a rising number of concussions and recent research which shows young athletes with repeated brain injuries are at great risk for future neurological problems, the Illinois Athletic Trainers Association (IATA) and the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch (CINN) are offering a wallet-sized card with tips for detecting and monitoring concussions. The complimentary card is an educational tool for parents, coaches and others who work with young athletes to help them identify signs of a concussion.

Experts say concussions have grown from 300,000 incidents 10 years ago to upwards of three million cases in the U.S. last year. What's more alarming is a study by the American Academy of Neurology which shows that in 100 schools across the U.S., 41 percent of concussed athletes returned to the game too soon. Those players are at risk of "second impact syndrome", a condition where the brain swells rapidly and catastrophically after a person suffers a second concussion before symptoms from an earlier one have subsided.

"Those figures are unconscionable," says Dean Karahalios, MD, neurosurgeon at CINN. "While we know more about how head trauma affects an adult, there is little information about how repeated concussions impact the brains of adolescents."

"Our rule of thumb is when a concussion is suspected and a trained medical professional is not available, the player should be benched for the day.." says IATA President Mike Sullivan MS, ATC. "Often the symptoms will show up much later, so it's up to family members, coaches and teachers to know the signs of concussion and be on the lookout."

The "Ahead of the Game" card features warning signs that the coach or parent may observe and symptoms the athlete may report following a concussion and it outlines a mental status test the coach or parent can initiate with the concussed athlete. If not treated in a timely fashion, athletes may experience post-concussion syndrome, resulting in chronic memory loss, increased fatigue, chronic headaches and permanent brain damage.

The faster a concussion is treated, the better chance an athlete has to make a full recovery without suffering the long-term side effects.

For more information or to order the card, log on to or email:

SOURCE Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch
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