New concussion clinic opens in Duluth

New concussion clinic opens in Duluth

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According to Nationwide Children, more than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States, and not just to football players. Concussions can happen to any athlete, male or female and in any sport.

Former University of Georgia and former Seattle Seahawks quarterback David Greene is from Gwinnett County and sits on the board of the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation. And he couldn't be prouder of the new concussion institute in Duluth and the proactive approach they are taking to treating and managing concussions.

"I was actually fortunate. I only got one that I know about", said Greene.

As a sophomore quarterback at the University of Georgia, David Greene suffered his lone career concussion.

"The funny thing is, it wasn't the hit that you would think. Typically you see the bone crushing hits, those I survived okay. I was actually getting sacked and hit a guys thigh board and it messed me up."

Greene stayed in the game and led the dogs to victory that day in Athens, but he described his memory afterward as fuzzy.

"The thing that shocked me was you could still go out there and function, still process things and still play, even though you got a concussion."

Eleven years later, despite daily news reports and multi-million dollar lawsuits, Dr. Marla Shapiro of the Gwinnett Medical Center's Concussion Institute says there is still a lot of confusion about what a concussion actually is.

"It's not a bruise, it's not a bleed, it's not a swelling of the brain. It's caused by a bump or blow, usually directly to the head, but not always. It's hard enough to disrupt the metabolic function of the brain, so it's a software problem."

And what makes the concussion institute unique is the ability to bring together physical therapists, sports medicine professionals with the latest in diagnostic equipment, and doctors all under one roof.

A one-stop-shop of sorts to help diagnose, treat, and manage a concussion, as a team. A one of a kind center in the southeast.

"We live in a suck it up and play culture", said Shapiro. "And athletes are chomping at the bit to get back to what they love and that's not how you want to manage a concussion. And athletes need to understand why."

Baseline testing of healthy athletes is a great way to evaluate cognitive ability after a head injury and the concussion institute is taking a very aggressive approach to protect athletes of all ages in participating in all sports in Gwinnett County.

It's very hard to diagnose a concussion if you don't know where they normally are", said Greene. "They've got well over 50,000 baseline tests for their youth which nobody else is doing."

"I think concussions are probably an inevitable part of sport, but if people know what to do, and they're managed well and managed safely", added shapiro. "Kids ought to be able to return to sports without fear of having catastrophic consequences."

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