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U-M Doctor Working to Get Neurologists in the Game When it Comes to Sports Injuries
Date:10/12/2009

Michigan NeuroSport director and physician named to lead new sports neurology division of American Academy of Neurology

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the football field, the hockey rink or wrestling mat, an athletes' head can take a beating -- and a University of Michigan neurologist is leading the charge to help doctors who treat the brain better understand those sports injuries.

Jeffrey S. Kutcher, M.D., a sports neurologist and assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Medical School, was influential in getting the American Academy of Neurology to establish a division of sports neurology. And he recently was tapped to serve as the first chair for that new section.

"We're not taught about taking care of athletes in neurology training," says Kutcher. "Caring for athletes requires a different kind of approach."

Kutcher says that taking care of athletes presents a unique set of challenges, including different patient expectations, unique practice environments, and many additional outside influences.

"When I first found myself on the sidelines of a football game as a team physician, I remember thinking that I might as well have been on Mars for as much as my residency training prepared me for that environment," Kutcher says.

"But now I feel almost comfortable, or at least as comfortable as one can get doing a hyper-focused neurological examination with a marching band directly behind you, fans on top of you (sometimes heckling!), and coaches wondering what's taking so long because you've had your thirty seconds."

Athletes often suffer from the kinds of problems that require a neurologist's expertise: concussions, peripheral nerve injuries, migraine headaches or sleep disorders.

The perspective for an athlete can also be very different from the typical patient that neurologists are trained to treat, Kutcher adds. Athle
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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