I am very honored and proud to say that I have received the 2013 Silver Knight in Athletics for Miami Dade County! This prestigious award is given annually to a high school senior who has demonstrated excellence in his or her category, academics, and community service. As I was announced as the winner, the packed auditorium joined together in a thunderous applause, congratulating me on all I have done in the name of spreading concussion awareness and education. That ovation and the award gave me a profound sense of achievement and I am extremely grateful that my community respects the work that I have done.
David Goldstein, a passionate soccer player at Ransom High School in Miami, suffered headaches, nausea and fatigue for months before finally learning that he suffered symptoms related to a concussion. More than 300,000 high school students like David suffer from sports-related concussions each year. Listen to find out how David transformed his experience into the Countywide Concussion Care Initiative, a program that helps increase awareness about how to prevent and treat concussions and provides a computer-based testing program to public schools in Miami-Dade County. The ImPACT Test is acomputer program that uses a baseline testing system to diagnose concussions. David’s mother, Cheryl, also discusses her experience as a parent who didn’t know the signs of a concussion or how to get her son help. She supports David in his drive to educate parents, coaches and players about the dangers of concussions. Find out how this initiative is spreading throughout South Floridaand how you can help. Call the University of Miami Sports Medicine Department at 305-689-5500, or visit the Countywide web site here. To listen to the program in a new window, click here: Countywide Concussion Care. 4/21/13
Friday, May 24, 2013 | By Ashlee Quintero
The KiDZ Neuroscience Center would like to congratulate David Goldstein on his receipt of The Miami Herald’s prestigious Silver Knight Award. According to the Miami Herald website, The Miami Herald Silver Knight Awards is one of the nation’s most highly regarded student awards programs. The purpose of this Awards program is to recognize outstanding students who have not only maintained good grades but have also unselfishly applied their special knowledge and talents to contribute significant service to their schools and communities. The Silver Knight Awards program was instituted at The Miami Herald in 1959 by John S. Knight, past publisher of The Miami Herald, founder and editor emeritus of Knight-Ridder Newspapers and 1968 Pulitzer Prize winner.
Goldstein was presented the award this week for his efforts in sports concussion care.
After suffering his third concussion in four years in a head-to-head collision on a soccer field, David endured months of agonizing headaches that forced him to sleep through part of the school day in the school nurse’s office. When he recovered, he launched a public safety campaign in conjuction with the KiDZ Neuroscience Center at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis that helped change state law to require that high school athletes suspected of suffering a head injury be removed from play until they are cleared by a medical professional. He started Countywide Concussion Care to reduce the dangers of concussions in Miami-Dade County, raised $35,000 to provide concussion testing at dozens of high schools, and became a spokesman for the Florida Brain Injury Association. He was named an AP Scholar with Distinction, was a National Merit semi-finalist and has been admitted to Princeton University in the fall. He still plays soccer, with the aid of a rugby helmet.
Published: May 5, 2013
Youth sports concussion clinics operate at the center of America’s heightened awareness and increasing worry about concussions among young athletes. Listening to the hundreds of stories of how concussions have occurred, examining patients and monitoring their recoveries, the doctors and staff members are a repository of anecdotal and medical concussion information.Here are some of their observations after watching the concussion phenomenon from the inside. Although it is not clinical data arrived at scientifically, it is meant to capture a picture of general findings.
Female patients are making up a larger percentage of the clinics’ overall concussion patient population, a percentage that continues to rise year to year.
“People used to say this was happening because female athletes are more likely than male athletes to report their concussion symptoms, but not many of us believe that is the reason any longer,” said Dr. Cynthia Stein of Boston Children’s Hospital. “Female athletes are just as aggressive about wanting to stay on the playing field, but maybe their sports are getting rougher.
“Forty-one percent of our new patients are now female, which is a huge amount when you consider that the No. 1 sport causing concussions is football, and that’s nearly all male.”
There are numerous theories about why the female percentage of the concussion cohort is climbing. The one most frequently mentioned by doctors focuses on the anatomy of the female neck. Because a whiplash effect is often blamed for a concussion — a brain injury can occur just by having the head violently snap back without a blow to the head — the generally thinner, less muscular female neck is thought to be a factor in the rise in head injuries.
The sports that doctors cited as leading to the most concussions for females were soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, gymnastics, cheerleading and basketball.
“Lots of girls getting elbowed in the head in basketball,” said Dr. Walter Panis ofMassachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Susan Kirelik, the clinical director of the Center for Concussion at the Rocky Mountain Hospital in Denver, added: “In soccer, it is heads hitting the goal posts, heads hitting the ground and head-to-head contact. Very common in women’s soccer.”
Many concussions seem to result from a hit the young athlete does not see coming. It is not just blindside hits in football; it is collisions in which only one party is braced for the collision, as seen in sports with checking, like lacrosse and hockey. Many soccer players are injured when they are hit in the head by a kicked ball at close range that they did not see coming, especially blows from the side or behind them.
Doctors again have theorized that girding the neck for a collision or a blow to the head could be the body’s way of protecting the brain. If the blow comes without warning, that layer of fortification is not engaged.
“As coaches always say, ‘Keep your head on a swivel so you know what’s going on around you,’ ” said Dr. Michael O’Brien at Boston Children’s Hospital. “It might be good advice for a lot of reasons.”
There is no documented evidence that America’s intensifying youth sports culture is leading to more concussions. But several doctors said they thought the year-round schedules that millions of young athletes on travel and elite teams keep as they specialize in one sport was a contributing factor.
“They certainly play more games than ever and more games at a higher level of competition,” said Dr. Kevin Walter of the concussion clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “They extend themselves more than ever. And with all the specialized training, they are bigger, faster and stronger. It adds up.”
Helmets, specialized mouth guards and headbands do not prevent concussions.“There is no known way to prevent concussions,” Stein said. “We love helmets and mouth guards; they protect your skull and your teeth. But they won’t stop a concussion from happening.”
While there is continuing research being conducted across the nation aimed at proving whether multiple concussions in a short period of time — or a lifetime — can lead to long-term or even permanent brain damage, doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital have recognized a pattern while studying lab mice subjected to repeated head trauma. The mice are analyzed as they perform various functions in a maze.
“We have seen there is a vulnerable time period, a certain distance between injuries that make things better or worse,” said Dr. Rebekah Mannix, one of the researchers. “We might be able to get to the truth — when it’s been a long enough time that even another concussion will not set me back in a permanent way.
“But we’ve also seen the other side with the mice. I hope they’re not predictive, but once they lose their cognitive abilities, it’s a lifetime thing. They don’t get it back.”