WESTPORT, Conn. -- A new concussion center in Westport will help take the guesswork out of the game for parents whose children suffer from trauma to the head.
Heads Up Westport will open at 25 Imperial Ave. in Westport and is owned by Dr. Deborah Mogelof an emergency physician and Dr. Audrey Paul, a pediatric emergency physician.
Central to the new center is its ability to conduct comprehensive baseline testing for children 10 years and over. Baseline testing will include ImPACT (a computer based neuropsychological test), vestibular and balance assessment as well as an initial health screen. Baseline testing is encouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“A few practitioners offer ImPACT testing, but many are not certified ImPACT consultants.” Paul said. “The ImPACT test will generate a result, but that result has to be interpreted within the context of each child’s academic and medical history.” HeadsUp Westport Concussion Center is the only ImPACT certified center in Westport.
The process works like this. Parents make an appointment for children 10-and-up to schedule a baseline test, which runs for about an hour. The physicians will test cognitive and vestibular function, balance and several other benchmarks. Mogelof and Paul suggest children should have baseline tests once a year.
If a parent believes their child may have suffered a concussion during a game, at school or on the playground, they can schedule a follow-up appointment to measure the severity of the concussion. Mogelof and Paul will then offer their expert advice on how to proceed. There are usually a minimum of two post-concussion assessments.
“The goal is to get children with a baseline test when they are not concussed, and then have a valid benchmark to refer to if they come back with a concussion. Hopefully, we won’t see them more than once a year,’’ Mogelof said.
Concussions have become a serious concern in youth sports. According to statistics from the CDC, 3.8 million concussions were reported in the United States in 2012, double what was reported in 2002. One third of the concussions occurred at a sports practice. Nearly 20 percent of high school athletes will sustain a concussion during their sports career.
“I’ve been seeing children with head injuries for three years on a weekly basis,’’ Mogelof said. There are tons of kids in Fairfield County playing sports.”
The hardest part, for physicians, parents, players and coaches, is determining when a child can be cleared to resume normal activities. The assessment offered by Mogelof and Paul will help eliminate some of the guesswork.
“You’ll see kids, parents and coaches who want their athlete back in the game,’’ Paul said. “But it’s getting better. Coaches are more conservative now. People are very aware of concussions and coaches are now required to receive concussion education. Given the number of children playing sports and the number of concussions, there is a huge need for baseline testing and evidence based up-to-date concussion guidance.”
To schedule an appointment, email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the HeadsUp Westport Concussion Center LLC can be found at www.HeadsUpWestportConcussionCenter.com.