Courtesy of Annie Jenkins, Assistant to the Commissioner of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference
BOSTON, Mass. – The Sport-Related Concussion and Spine Injury Conference returned for its 15th year on Friday, May 11, 2018 at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center as Simmons College's athletic trainer Bridget Quinn represented the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in attendance through the GNAC's NCAA Tier 1 grant funding for athletic training professional development.
"It is extremely important for athletic trainers and other sports medicine personnel to attend these professional development opportunities," explained Quinn. "New research on concussions and other topics in the medical field is always coming out and our standards of care are always changing and improving based on this new evidence."
Honored guests and national experts from Boston Children's Hospital Brain Injury Center and Harvard Medical School presented key features in the diagnosis and management of the full spectrum of concussion, traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, with an emphasis on safely returning athletes to school and sports as part of the day-long course.
"We were again delighted with the conference, which was attended by well over 200 clinicians and scientists and included presenters from around the United States and beyond," said Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention Director William P. Meehan III, MD. "Given the inconsistencies between the reporting on concussion by the lay media and the medical literature, it is important for clinicians to remain up to date with the latest data. This conference provides clinicians with the most recent, evidence based information."
A Valuable Learning Opportunity
Quinn was joined by fellow Sharks' athletic trainer, Shelby Wozmak, to take part in the professional development opportunity.
"My biggest takeaway from attending this lecture series is that the course of treatment for every patient with a concussion is different, and no two concussions are the same – even two different concussions that one patient sustains," said Quinn. "Concussion research and the medical field's knowledge of concussions has certainly come a long way, but there is still so much more to learn. The brain is so complex, that our standard of care for patients with concussions has changed even within the past few years."
The interactive learning format of the course engaged attendees through lectures, panel presentations, small group discussions, and Q&A sessions. Hands-on workshops addressed relevant, practical concerns that are specific to clinicians, nurses, athletic trainers, coaches, and school personnel who work with brain or spine injured patients in any capacity.
"When treating a patient with a concussion, one of the most basic things you can do to monitor their progress is to take a subjective symptom score. There are 22 total symptoms and they can range from simply a headache to feeling more emotional," Quinn said.
During the conference, Quinn recalled one of the speakers talking about five different "symptom clusters": somatic, vestibular, emotional, cognitive, and sleep symptoms and how a plan of care will be different depending on which cluster the student-athlete is feeling the most symptoms in.
"Just something as simple as changing the arrangement of our symptoms on the symptom score sheet that we use will be able to give us a little bit more insight into each concussion and will give us the ability to try some of the new treatment methods that we learned and will definitely be incorporated onto our campus at Simmons," stated Quinn.
Professional Development & Collaboration
Furthermore, according to the Conference's overview page, Boston Children's Hospital (BOC AP# P10089) is approved by the Board of Certification, Inc. to provide continuing education to Athletic Trainers. This program is eligible for a maximum of 7 EBP Category hours/CEUs.
"With something like concussions and spine injuries, its so important for us to continue to learn and be made aware of these changes at professional development opportunities. This particular conference was a great opportunity, because it was aimed towards all different kinds of medical providers: nurses, nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, doctors, and athletic trainers," said Quinn.
Quinn is an advocate for continuing education and encourages her peers to also take part in future collaborative opportunities.
"As athletic trainers, we are always collaborating with others in the medical field when it comes to the treatment of patients. When we collaborate, being on the same page as other medical providers and being aware of the best standards of care are important to ensure the continuity of care of patients. Professional development is extremely vital in our field because when athletic trainers are knowledgeable about the most current research, we are able to provide the best possible care for our patients, and continue to keep them safe on and off the field."
For more information on the Sport-Related Concussion and Spine Injury Conference, please visit https://bostonchildrens.cloud-cme.com/Aph.aspx?P=1&EID=675.