Loudoun County raising concussion awareness

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) -- Parents gathered at the Loudoun County Public Schools Administration Building Thursday evening and got schooled on concussions. They learned what they are, how to spot them and properly respond. They want to make sure their kids start their sports seasons off safe and smart.

It doesn't matter if you're a pro athlete, student-athlete or kid romping around. We’re all at risk for concussions.

“It was my wake-up call and I stopped playing flag football after that,” said Rahman Parker while recalling the concussion he suffered as a teenager. “I gave up in my glory days,” he chuckled.

The CEO of MAHN Healthcare, Inc. now knows what happened is no laughing matter.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in the last decade the number of emergency department visits for traumatic brain injuries among our youth jumped 60 percent.

“With the NFL starting up [and] with high school sports starting up, this is a big time and there are a lot of eyes on this stuff,” said Parker.

He hosted the youth concussion awareness event so parents and healthcare professionals could unite on a mission to knock down the chance of injury.

“We can't wrap ourselves in bubble wrap so we just have to educate ourselves,” said Jo Thompson.

She’s a case manager at Brain Injury Services in Springfield. She's also the proud mom of a four year-old.

“I work with children every day who have sustained a brain injury so I want to protect my daughter, of course, from having to go through that,” she said.

Thompson wants parents to memorize their concussion ABCs:
- Access the situation
- Be alert for signs and symptoms
- Contact a health care professional

Most importantly, remember the saying "when in doubt, take them out."

“The most important factor in recovery of [a] concussion is awareness that something is wrong,” said Melvin Greer.

The Loudoun County father is joining the conversation so when his two and four year-old boys hit the field or court they and their teammates are safe.

“The coach has a lot to pay attention to during the game and the parent is usually watching their child only so they may be the ones to notice is something happens,” informed Thompson.

She also offered a good tool, at the palm of your hands, should your child take a hit.

There are several Smart Phone Apps with concussion checklists and educational materials. A few include SCAT2, Concussion, Concussion Quick Check, Return2Play for Concussion, RNR Concussion App and Play it Safe. PAR, Inc offers several various Apps on iPhones and Androids, as well.