Full Story to Channel 8 News Coverage on Concussion Featuring Dr. Bardwell


From a lawsuit against the National Football League involving more than 4,000 players, to a new state law in Maine which governs when high school athletes can return to the field, the topic is sparking a lot of debate.

After high school freshman Cam Murphy was knocked to the ground in a soccer game last fall, it was weeks before doctors realized Murphy had suffered a serious concussion.

“I just got up and walked away. I didn’t realize it was that bad,” said Murphy. This spring he is reluctantly taking a break from sports. “It’s not very fun. I’d rather play than watch,” said Murphy. Murphy’s mother said the doctor told them he could face some serious consequences if he didn’t take that break. “The doctor told us if he went back playing and he got hit again, it could be for the rest of his life that he couldn’t play sports,” said Anna Bragdon.

That’s the message concussion advocate Scott Manthorne, of Yarmouth, is advocating. “I don’t think it needs to overshadow what sports are all about, but I think every coach, every parent should slow down, take some time to understand what this is,” said Manthorne.

Manthorne admits he is not expert on concussions but is a concerned parent working to ensure the highest degree of safety in youth sports.  In the past six months he has created a Facebook page, the “Concussion Discussion.” He has organized a public forum and has formed an alliance with sports medicine specialist Dr. Kevin Bardwell to better promote testing.

“We are working on return to play protocols. We’re working to increase awareness,” said Manthorne.

Bardwell said taking a simple baseline test can detect the slightest sign of irregular brain function. Many concussion experts suggest young athletes take the test before they begin playing a sport to provide their doctor a foundation of their brain function.

“What this can do is pick up the fine details, the motor skills that are effected when we take away different senses,” said Bardwell.

The debate over concussions has many parents wondering if their young child should participate in contact sports.

“I think there are far too many games,” said youth sports coach Mike Hagarty.

Hagarty believes concerned families should practice moderation and not eliminate sports entirely.

However, no matter how many games they play, it is up to the coach, the kids and the parents to recognize the symptoms. “Anything we can do to increase awareness, to increase measurement, to increase education and to let people know from the neck up there’s no such thing as a minor injury,” said Hagarty.

This year Maine became one of 39 states to enact a law governing concussions in high school sports. Every high school must have a concussion policy to determine when a player can return to the field or classroom. Dr. Bardwell and others want communities to set similar policies for youth sports.

Video Coverage can be seen here: Special Report: Concussion Conversation 

A New Way to Care for Young Brains


“Parents will get irritated and say, ‘It’s three weeks and he still has headaches — the last concussion he had, he was better in a day,’ ” Stein said. “They want a fix. The changing timetables can be trying. But I tell them that you can’t try harder to heal the brain, just like you can’t try harder to make a broken leg heal faster.” – nytimes.com

Check out this great article concerning youth sports organization with TMI.

Link: A New Way to Care for Young Brains

Some Facts about sustaining a Concussion

Did you know that fewer than 10% of sport related concussions involve a loss of consciousness? When it comes to sports, football is the most common sport for males to sustain a concussion (with an astounding 75% chance) and soccer for females (with a 50% chance). Did you also know that 78% of concussions occur during games as opposed to practices? And that some studies show that females are twice as likely to sustain a concussion than males. (Source:www.cdc.gov)


Protect the ones you love from Sports Injuries!

Protect the Ones You Love Sports Injuries banner: adult and youth skating while wearing helmets and knee pads

We all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent injuries from sports and recreation activities, one of the leading causes of child injury, is a step toward this goal.

Taking part in sports and recreation activities is an important part of a healthy, physically active lifestyle for kids. But injuries can, and do, occur. More than 2.6 million children 0-19 years old are treated in the emergency department each year for sports and recreation-related injuries.

Thankfully, there are steps that parents can take to help make sure kids stay safe on the field, the court, or wherever they play or participate in sports and recreation activities.

Prevention Tips

Gear up. When children are active in sports and recreation, make sure they use the right protective gear for their activity, such as helmets, wrist guards, knee or elbow pads.

Use the right stuff. 

Be sure that sports protective equipment is in good condition and worn correctly all the time—for example, avoid missing or broken buckles or compressed or worn padding. Poorly fitting equipment may be uncomfortable and may not offer the best protection.

Practice makes perfect.

Have children learn and practice skills they need in their activity. For example, knowing how to tackle safely is important in preventing injuries in football and soccer. Have children practice proper form – this can prevent injuries during baseball, softball, and many other activities. Also, be sure to safely and slowly increase activities to improve physical fitness; being in good condition can protect kids from injury.

Pay attention to temperature.

Allow time for child athletes to gradually adjust to hot or humid environments to prevent heat-related injuries or illness. Parents and coaches should pay close attention to make sure that players are hydrated and appropriately dressed.

Be a good model.

Communicate positive safety messages and serve as a model of safe behavior, including wearing a helmet and following the rules.

ProteWe all want to keep our children safe and secure and help them live to their full potential. Knowing how to prevent injuries from sports and recreation activities, one of the leading causes of Getting ready for the start of baseball or softball for your child or teen? REMEMBER: Help protect their brain with a helmet that fits. They should NEVER wear anything under their batter’s or catcher’s helmet. This includes a baseball hat!child injury, is a step toward this goal.ct the ones you love from sports injuries. www.cdc.gov/safechild