Video: ReThinking Concussions – Addressing Parents’ Fear (Part 3)

Video: ReThinking Concussions – Addressing Parents’ Fear (Part 3)

The ImPACT test is the most widely used neurocognitive test for sports concussion. It is FDA-approved, mandated by the NFL, NHL, and used in roughly 6,000 high schools and colleges in the United States. In this video, Micky Collins, PhD, who helped develop ImPACT, talks about parents’ fear of concussion with Hannah Storm, and the importance of concussion baseline testing.


Read the full transcript from ReThinking Concussions: Addressing Parents’ Fear, with Hannah Storm and Micky Collins, PhD:

Hannah Storm: I imagine you have a lot of very scared people that walk in the door here.

Dr. Collins: We do. You’re in the sports world, you hear the conversations that are going on, and probably the conversation we’re having right now is a little different than those conversations, right?

Hannah Storm: It’s very different. There are parents who are scared to not even put their child at risk and have their child not play certain sports because of risk of concussion. But then, when you consider what it means to have a child who’s not physically active and all the health problems that are attendant with that, that’s not the solution either.

Dr. Collins: No; in fact, we talk about migraine. People who don’t exercise, people that are stressed out, people that don’t have outlets for their stress, they get migraine. So, patients can actually have problems from not playing sports in some instances. We see this all the time, or the way it’s been treated, it leads to other problems. Sports are a wonderful thing for kids. I grew up playing them.

Hannah Storm: In every way: physically, mentally, emotionally.

Dr. Collins: Socially, interacting with peers, competition, failure. How important is failure in life, right?

Hannah Storm: Very.

Dr. Collins: Very important. And exercise. And I think that the conversations that are occurring around this, there was just a poll done, a survey done with pediatricians, and the great majority of pediatricians would not allow their kid to play contact sports. I have four daughters. If I had a son, I’d let him play football, I’d let him play any sport that he wanted to. With that being said, can we do things to help prevent the problem? Yeah, I think there’s some, like some of the things the NFL is doing in terms of rules, etc., those are good things.

Hannah Storm: Are they helpful?

Dr. Collins: Yes, absolutely! Like heavy tackling drills and those sorts of things. Look, it makes sense to mitigate some of these things that’s going to help prevent the injury, but the reality is is the conversation needs to turn. Imagine this: We get to a world where a patient has a concussion, “Yes you’ve had a concussion, “this is the type of concussion you have, “this is the rehab we’re going to do, “this is how long it’s going to take to recover, “and yes you’re going to be able “to get back to your sport safely.” That’s a different conversation.

Hannah Storm: And get back to school.

Dr. Collins: And get back to school.

Hannah Storm: And your life.

Dr. Collins: And your life, of course. It goes beyond sports. But the point is that’s where the field is moving right now. I can have that conversation with parents right now, and a lot of parents aren’t aware that conversation can occur.

Hannah Storm: So, would you say that, at this point, concussions are as treatable or should be thought of in the same way as a knee injury or a shoulder injury?

Dr. Collins: I don’t want to trivialize it, because it is a brain injury, okay? It’s a different animal. A concussion can affect a lot of aspects of life: academically, socially, physically, and there’s things that can happen from that that are unlike a knee injury. But yes, I actually do feel that we can get to the point of, “This the type of concussion you have “and this is an active treatment to get better “and you’re going to improve “and get back to the sport you love.” I do feel that way.

Hannah Storm: What should all parents be doing now, certainly in terms of if their kids are involved in sports, of baseline testing?

Dr. Collins: Baseline testing is a really important tool for us as clinicians and it’s a very accessible thing to do. There’s a lot of great clinics and clinicians out there doing baseline testing. It helps us establish, this is where the patient is, and that information can be very importantly used if you know how to use that information. Is it a panacea? No. Does it help me as a clinician when I see it? A hundred percent, yes.

Hannah Storm: It does help.

Dr. Collins: Yes it does.

Hannah Storm: Yeah, so it’s very critical.

Dr. Collins: Of course it does. And so, baseline testing is very important, I think, in general, and I think parents should advocate for that for their kids.