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Wesley Children’s Hospital Concussion Clinic Steps Up to Help Kids with Head Injuries

Wesley Medical Center March 08, 2017

New clinic created to treat and manage concussions in children throughout the entire recovery process

WICHITA – A concussion is not just a “bump on the head.” It is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that needs proper treatment whether it is mild or severe.

Wesley Children’s Hospital is creating a program to meet a growing need for treating concussions in children from first diagnosis to the all-important follow-up care with its brand new Concussion Clinic.

Concussion can occur in many different settings and in almost any sport. But athletes in contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, basketball, and baseball have a 10 to 20 percent chance of experiencing a concussion each season.

National concern has grown in recent years as more research shows that the immediate and long-term effects of concussions are more significant than previously thought.

“A lot of kids are being released to play before symptoms have been resolved and that puts them at jeopardy for having lifelong issues,” said Kimberly Molik, MD, medical director of the state’s only verified pediatric trauma center at Wesley Medical Center, as well as medical director of Wesley Children’s Hospital pediatric surgery.

“A child with a concussion needs follow-up care and the monitoring of symptoms and a really strong evaluation before being allowed to return to play,” she said. “We want to make sure we intervene and make sure the symptoms are being treated the best they can be to protect kids from further injury.”

A concussion occurs when the brain is violently jarred back and forth or rotated inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. This can “stun” brain cells or even kill them, experts say. Doctors say a person does not need to lose consciousness to suffer a concussion, and the effects are cumulative.

Each year, U.S. emergency departments treat an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children and adolescents up to 19 years old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

In addition, from 2001 to 2009, the number of sports- and recreation-related emergency room visits for traumatic brain injuries for the age group increased 62 percent. The overall rate of traumatic brain injury visits increased 57 percent.

Until recent years, few rules existed that governed how concussions were treated among athletes. But in 2012, Kansas changes that. A team of local physicians formed the Kansas Sports Concussion Partnership, a resource designed to educate coaches, athletes and parents about concussions. The team helped enact the 2012 state law that now regulates how Kansas athletes are handled once a concussion is suspected.

Kansas law requires that any athlete exhibiting any established signs of a head injury is to be removed from a game and not allowed back until a doctor approves it.

Wesley Children’s Hospital works with the organization – which can be found at kansasconcussion.org – for resource materials to help educate parents and children with concussive injuries.

Perhaps the most import aspect of the increased attention on concussions is the awareness that concussions aren’t a one-time, quick-cure problem. Symptoms may appear immediately or develop over several days, experts say. They may last a few days to several months and interfere with schoolwork and social life.

That’s why the Concussion Clinic at Wesley Children’s Hospital is so valuable in ensuring that children are properly diagnosed and monitored before they are released from a doctor’s care.

“Blunt trauma is the leading mechanism of injury in pediatric patients, plus, concussion are the most common type of injury in athletes,” said Meghan Landwehr, RN, MSN, pediatric trauma program manager for Wesley Medical Center.

“The concussion clinic will allow these children to receive great quality of follow-up care after an injury,” she said. “To be able to return to sports, athletes must be cleared by a physician. This will definitely help when the family physician doesn’t feel comfortable clearing a child or the child cannot get back to see their family physician.”

The Wesley Children’s Hospital Concussion Clinic is held the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 9 a.m. to noon in the Medical Arts Tower at Wesley Medical Center, 3243 E. Murdock St. For more information about the concussion clinic, please call (316) 962-2085.

For more information about Wesley Children’s Hospital, please visit wesleymc.com or facebook.com/wesleychildrenshospital.

Wesley Healthcare is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912.  As a leader in Overall Recommended Care in national surveys, Wesley Medical Center treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region.  Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER, Wesley Woodlawn ER, the region’s only pediatric ER and soon, Wesley Derby ER.  Wesley owns and operates Wesley Medical Center, Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER, multiple WesleyCare clinics and is currently building the region’s only dedicated children’s hospital – Wesley Children’s Hospital. To learn more about Wesley Healthcare, please visit wesleymc.com.

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