While high school football season is over, there are still plenty of sports to keep students active throughout the school year. Basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis and many other sports are also quite popular throughout the academic year. Playing sports in school is proven to improve focus, discipline and time management skills. While the benefits of playing sports outweigh the risks, there is still a possibility of injury among student athletes. Luckily, the various healthcare providers at Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star in Frisco are committed to improving safety in youth sports in Collin County through injury prevention, performance and research.

Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research is home to several services and providers. Inside the 300,000 square foot, nine-story facility are Digestive Diseases Group, Cardiovascular Consultants, Orthopedic Associates of Dallas, Outpatient Rehabilitation, Primary Care, Urgent Care, Blue Star Imaging, Surgical Institute, the Carrell Clinic, the Sports Surgery Center, the Sports Performance Center and the Sports Concussion Program.

Concussion is a common sports-related injuries which, fortunately, is very treatable. Neuropsychologist Dr. Erin Reynolds, who serves as the Clinical Director of Baylor Scott & White Sports Concussion Program at The Star, believes that people should be aware of the signs of concussions and not dismiss any symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms are headaches, dizziness, changes in mood and sensitivity to light and noise.

“I think the biggest mistake parents make is not taking it seriously,” Reynolds says. “If there’s any hit to the head, any slight dizziness or headache is always worth getting evaluated. If a concussion is not treated, some of the larger systems in the brain might not fully heal. When that happens, as humans, we compensate for those weaknesses, but that’s always going to make that person more vulnerable to future head injuries.”

Each patient who comes to Baylor Scott & White Sports Concussion Program at The Star with a concussion will receive a series of thorough assessments.

“When athletes come to see us, we use a structured clinical interview,” Reynolds says. “We administer computerized neurocognitive testing, and we assess their vestibular ocular motor system. Sometimes we implement some exercise assessments. Through all of that information, we are able to accurately diagnose concussion, treat concussion and get kids moving through the return-to-learn and return-to-play protocols.”

To help student athletes recover from injuries and ease their way back into school, Baylor Scott & White Sports Concussion Program at The Star works with each school to help create education plans and academic accommodations to help enable each student to be in school as often as possible following the injury. Such accommodations include environmental accommodations, cognitive accommodations and visual accommodations.

“We used to have kids go home, and rest in a dark, quiet environment,” Reynolds says. “They would miss a lot of school and they would miss a lot of social events. Now, we get them back into normal activity as quickly as possible, but in order to do that, we have to provide them with certain parameters and accommodations.”

Although injuries like concussions may seem minor, they can lead to lifelong consequences if left untreated.

“We used to think that if you got one concussion, you would just automatically keep getting more and more, but that’s really because we weren’t treating the injury,” Reynolds says. “If we’re treating the injury, and we’re thoroughly assessing and making sure that we’re treating everything that’s not as it should be, we’re seeing less recidivism, less repeat concussions and not necessarily more complex injuries down the road.”

Although no parent wants to imagine his or her child sustaining some form of injury, the risk is always present when playing sports. The providers at Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star are highly skilled and committed to the recovery and education of each athlete that walks through the doors.

“We’ve come very far in our treatment and we now know that active recovery is the key component in this,” Reynolds says. “We work here at Baylor Scott & White as a team; it is a team that includes neuropsychology, sports medicine, physical therapy and athletic training. We work to provide comprehensive care for the student athletes, keep them active, keep them in school and get them back to play as soon as possible.”

For more information on Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star in Frisco, visit bswhealth.com/star 

Physicians are employees of HealthTexas Provider Network, a member of Baylor Scott & White Health. ©2019 Baylor Scott & White Health. Photography may include models or actors and may not represent actual patients.

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