NYU Langone Medical Center examines prominence of concussions, head trauma

Courtesy of Langone Center
Courtesy of Langone Center

 

NYU Langone Medical Center plans to commit more brainpower to treating some of the most common brain-related injuries.

Last week, Langone launched a new comprehensive Concussion Center at an event featuring former NHL player Adam Graves and brain injury experts. The Concussion Center will treats head injuries and facilitate research on concussion treatment.

“The Concussion Center offers an access point to the latest diagnostic tools and expert clinicians across a wide range of disciplines to address the multidimensional physical and cognitive effects that can result [from brain trauma],” said a spokesperson for Langone in a press release.

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Dr. Dennis Cardone, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at Langone and one of the leaders of the new center, said concussions are more complicated injuries than they appear to be.

“Most people can recover from a concussion within seven to 10 days. But there is a population who may have short and potentially long-term effects that can impair various physical and mental aspects of a person’s health and require specialized care and coordinated resources,” Dr. Cardone said.

Ted Coons, a psychology professor at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, said concussions can also have psychological effects.

“The kind of effect depends on what regions of the brain are involved,” Coons said. “If it’s the frontal regions, there can be personality changes, often in terms of mood, responsibility and planning.  More generalized concussions are manifested as confusions about time and space, and inability to focus in general.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year in the United States.

Nikki Webb, head athletic trainer at NYU, said she believes the number of diagnosed concussions has risen in recent years.

“Athletes are becoming more aware of the symptoms and dangers, so more diagnoses are being made and treatment is happening, which is great,” Webb said.

Webb said it is standard procedure for all NYU athletes to be removed from play if a coach believes they are concussed. The injured student is then formally evaluated.

In addition to providing clinical care and conducting research, doctors at the center will provide safety information for students and families.

Sam Barder, a CAS freshman on NYU’s ultimate frisbee club team, said he thinks concussion research is very important.

“I think concussions and other head-related injuries could end up being the demise of sports like football,” Barder said. “So looking into concussions in order to prevent them, and being able to find ways to limit their occurrence and effects, would be a huge help to athletes everywhere.”

A version of this article was published in the Thursday, March 28 print edition. Billy Richling is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]

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