Inside Gillette Blog

Spotlight on Sports Concussions, from Young Athletes to Pros

Posted On: 07/20/2010

Categories: Safety and Wellness

From Wild hockey star Pierre Marc Bouchard to, more recently, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, it seems that concussions among pro-sports players have been in the news with growing frequency. Sports-related brain injuries have gained attention on a national level, too. Only weeks ago, the New York Times reported that deceased Cincinnati Bengals football player Chris Henry, 26, had already developed chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a progressive brain disease that’s been discovered in a number of retired NFL players.

What does all of this mean for young athletes? It’s a sobering reminder of just how serious sports-related head trauma can be — and of the importance of post-injury rest time to preventing long-term damage.

16-year-old football player Brett Pierce, pictured below with his mom and Gillette brain injury specialist Leslie Larson, C.N.P., can speak firsthand to the importance of appropriate rest time following a brain injury. Just yesterday, he shared his own experience of receiving two concussions just six months apart, with WCCO reporter Dennis Douda.

Click here to watch WCCO’s segment, Morneau’s Injury Raises Concussion Awareness.

At Gillette, Brett took an easy and affordable (just $4 per athlete!) brain test called ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) that can help players, parents and coaches determine when it’s safe to return to play. Through a series of computerized exercises, ImPACT can identify changes in brain function, evaluate post-injury condition, and help track recovery.  Learn more about ImPACT.

Brett’s mom, Leslie Pierce, is already working to broaden ImPACT to Brett’s entire football team. In the meantime, Brett received the news he was hoping for at his appointment today: he can rejoin his teammates at Holy Angels Academy, who are already practicing for the upcoming season.

Brain injury specialist Leslie Larson helped Brett and Leslie Pierce understand the serious implications of sports-concussions — and administered the ImPACT test to help determine when Brett could safely return to play.