Rebound Advanced Concussion Center represents an expansion of the Shriners Hospital’s sports medicine program, which began when Shriners International opened the hospital in 1985. The program serves children from birth until the end of high school in collaboration with the University of South Florida, area schools and sports groups. Preseason physicals will be offered throughout the year to accommodate all sports. During those visits, physicians will give each patient a computerized test and assessment that can be used as a baseline if the child returns for treatment at the concussion center.
“The aim of this project is to promote safe and efficient return to school and sports for children with sports-related and non-sports-related concussions. Our program is a comprehensive, rehabilitative program providing education for the family, the child/athlete, as well as the referring organizations and physicians,” said Richard Radecki, M.D., the hospital’s medical director of rehabilitative services and a leading expert in pediatric concussions.
Concussions among children have raised new concerns among pediatric health professionals. According to a study published in the June 20 online issue of the journal, Pediatrics, nearly two million U.S. children and teens may suffer concussions each year. Using data from hospitals, physicians and athletic trainers, investigators estimated between one million and 1.9 million concussions occur annually among kids aged 18 and younger due to sports and recreation injuries.
Every state and the District of Columbia has sought to prevent the catastrophic damage and even death that can occur from sustaining a subsequent concussion before the brain has adequately healed from the first. Florida law prohibits sports programs from allowing children with concussions to resume play until they are cleared by a physician. Some school districts go further, requiring children to undergo baseline testing before participating in sports. Parents can also choose to have baseline tests for their children.
“Our top priority is protecting children and making sure it is safe for them to return to normal activity, whether that includes excelling in high-level sports or conquering the monkey bars,” Dr. Radecki said.