Two Concussion Centers Open in DFW | NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Two Concussion Centers Open in DFW



    (Published Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012)

    Texas Health Resources has opened the first outpatient concussion centers in the Metroplex.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say sports concussions have grown 60 percent in the last 10 years.

    Male athletes mostly get concussions while playing football, and female athletes who get concussions sustain them mainly in soccer. But it is possible to get concussions in any sport.

    Lauren Gunter, a senior at Crowley High School, sustained a concussion while playing softball. She said she never hit her head while diving for the ball but "jarred myself so hard that I hit the ground."

    "I had really, really bad headaches and my vision, it started changing," she said. "Everything got blurry."

    Gunter saw Dr. Damond Blueitt, who can be found at one of the only two outpatient concussion centers in the area.

    Texas Health Resources opened the centers in Dallas and Fort Worth on Thursday.

    "We know that repetitive concussions or concussions that the symptoms continue to be exacerbated, we know that they can cause further harm later in life," Blueitt said.

    Patients take two tests at the center. The first is computer-based and benchmarks cognitive skills such as memory.

    "It looks at the brain functions that are impaired by concussions, so it can kind of help aid and treat the concussion," Blueitt said.

    Then patients undergo physical tests that gauge their balance.

    From there, doctors can plot their recovery -- which can include giving up television and texting.

    The concussion centers, which are opening just in time for the start of the school year, can serve as an immediate resource for athletes because they don't need a referral to be treated.

    A new law meant to protect student-athletes is also going into effect. Natasha's Law requires that any public school athlete who sustains a concussion must get a doctor's note vouching for his or her health before playing again.