A student athlete learns that every hit should be taken seriously.

Knocked out: The risk of concussions

Western Branch High School athlete Jordon Sink was hit hard twice during a football practice.

"I didn't think it was anything serious right away, so I kept practicing," says Jordon, who had a mild headache after the first hit.

Unfortunately, his lack of concern is typical among student athletes, and just one reason why it's helpful to have Sentara certified athletic trainers at local high schools during practices and games.

Within 30 minutes of the first hit, Jordon received a second one that left him scared and disoriented. The Sentara certified athletic trainer on site became aware of the situation and performed an assessment.

Displaying signs of memory loss, focal impairments, and left leg paresis, Jordon was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital by ambulance. He was diagnosed with two concurrent concussions.

Vital feedback from ImPACT

Sustaining repeated concussions in a short period of time, even when mild, can have serious repercussions, including long-term cognitive impairments.

In Jordon's case, he was unable to attend school.

Jordon's physician evaluated through the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussive Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program. The computer-based system calculates reaction times and memory recall and tracks self-reported symptoms.

Using the data, Jordon's physician eventually allowed him to return to school after a month.

"ImPACT is a really cool program," says Jordon. "It let my doctor see that I was actually making progress, even though it was taking a long time."

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