September 21 is National Concussion Awareness Day September 21, 2018

Longview, TX – During fall in East Texas, youth sports is a popular pastime, and medical specialists say participants, parents and coaches should be very aware of the potential and potential hazards of concussions. Children with undiagnosed concussions are at risk for another one and longer recovery times.

“Concussions are a growing problem,” said Yogesh Pai, M.D., CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic - Henderson. “We see them in sports, in auto accidents and a variety of other patients. It is important to bring awareness to this issue, as so many kids play sports and may be at risk.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released updated concussion guidelines for children that recommend against routine X-rays and blood tests for diagnosis and reassure parents that most kids' symptoms clear up within one to three months. Signs of potentially more serious injuries that may warrant CT imaging scans include vomiting, unconsciousness and severe, worsening headaches, according to the guidelines released Tuesday.

However, Dr. Pai warns that concussion can sometimes be hard to spot. Some patients are very obviously hurt and get medical attention immediately, but there can also an almost silent injury pattern where symptoms may appear later or even be confusing. By some estimates, at least 1 million children get concussions each year in the United States, although the true frequency is unknown because there is no national effort to track them and many go untreated.

The physicians like Dr. Pai at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic specialize in sports concussion management, and they bring the same level of testing and sophistication available in the NFL and other professional spots to athletes in East Texas.

“The first thing we want these people to do if they are hurt, or if they think they are hurt, is to get some attention from the sidelines,” said Dr. Pai. “Then, get an evaluation and seek the appropriate medical attention from physicians. CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic at CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System performs neurocognitive testing. We test for memory, reaction time, balance and things like that. Using this testing information, we then assist in the rehab process so we can return the athletes safely to school and to sports. And remember parents – if you are in doubt, always play it safe. The brain is the only organ that cannot regenerate its own cells.”

For more information, please visit christustrinityclinic.org.

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CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System includes: CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Medical Center – Longview (425-bed count); CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Medical Center – Marshall (149-bed count); freestanding Emergency Departments, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd NorthPark and CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Emergency Center – Kilgore; medically integrated wellness centers, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living and CHRISTUS Good Shepherd LifeCenter; and CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic. CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic is the area's preferred multi-specialty medical group, with more than 650 Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers representing 41 specialties in 82 locations serving Northeast Texas across 41 counties. For more information on services available through CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Health System, visit christusgoodshepherd.org.