Conemaugh Memorial’s Level One Trauma program releases research findings of Concussion Prevention Program

April 28, 2015

Representatives of Conemaugh Health System Redesign’s Level One Regional Resource Trauma Center gathered at Westmont Hilltop High School today to unveil the results of a concussion prevention program piloted with Westmont High School coaches, staff and student athletes. 

“There is a great deal of research on how to treat concussions but not a lot on how to prevent them,” says Dr. Russell Dumire, Medical Director of Conemaugh Memorial’s Level One Trauma Center. “Far too often, we see the devastating effect concussions can have on student athletes. Concussions account for 90% of all brain injuries. Of the 4 million athletes who suffer concussion each year, 1 in 5 will not fully recover.” 

The Strong Minded program integrates MASSf (Mobility, Agility, Stability, Strength, flexibility) - a work out regime designed by local sports and exercise specialists which focuses on enhancing core and neck muscles. 

“A common misconception is that concussions are caused by a blow to the head,” says Thomas Causer, RN, Trauma Prevention Coordinator and researcher. “The majority are actually caused by the brain being “whipped” around inside the skull. This program enhances the neck and core muscles to help reduce that whiplash effect.” 

The conditioning program was implemented this year at Westmont Hilltop High School for football, boys and girls soccer and volleyball. Data from the pilot program shows a significant reduction in concussions. 

“The anticipated rate of concussions for the 4 sports during the 2014 season was 11,” adds Causer. “The actual incidence was only two with none occurring in football, which is an 82% reduction.” 

“The concussion prevention program has made a positive educational impact based on the decreased number of concussions. Fewer student-athletes suffer concussions leading to fewer number of days missed due to head injuries. The program has had positive impact on the student-athlete's educational experience,” says Thomas Mitchell, principal of Westmont High School. “Our students love the game and anything we can do to keep them safe while playing high school sports is a top priority for our athletics program.” 

In addition to core and neck muscle strengthening, the program also included educational components on nutrition and brain injuries. Participation in the workouts and the incidence of concussion were tracked by the school’s trainers and coaches. 
“We want our youth to be able to play the sports they love,” adds Dr. Dumire, “But we want them to be safe. The results of this study are exciting and we look forward to further studying the issue.”

For More Information, Please Contact:
Amy Bradley, Director of Public Affairs
Phone: (814) 534-3121