Local health professionals focus on brain injuries - KCTV5

Local health professionals focus on brain injuries

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OVERLAND PARK, KS (KCTV) -

For most athletes and parents, concussions are a major concern. It's something local health professionals are focused on too as they've been taking a closer look at brain injuries this week.

After six years of grueling physical and mental treatment, Christian Stokes is a success story in the rehabilitation world, but the motorcycle accident that nearly killed him haunts him to this day.

“For a long time I was coping with who was I? Who am I?” he said.

Stokes still occasionally deals with mood swings, depression and physical challenges that are lingering effects from the crash.

“I had to accept the fact that I've made changes, but I'm who I am today despite my brain injury,” he said.

Now doctors see the same kinds of things happening to athletes, which is why the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City hosts seminars.

Danna Wooleve,r with Madonna Rehabilitation, fears the consequences young athletes might have to face.

“Repetitive hits over and over cause some issues. Different kinds of things that can affect people well into their adult life,” she said.

If anyone at the seminar knows about blows to the head, it's NFL Hall of Fame lineman Will Shields. He's promoting a company that uses new technologies to test for concussions and to prevent them through training and awareness.

“It goes back to fundamentals and teaching people the basics of things. What to do and what not to do,” he said.

New technologies also help people transition back into a normal life after a brain injury. For example, a phone displays captions of a phone conversation in real time for people whose injuries led to hearing loss.

Shields said developments in sports science could save young athletes.

“As a coach and a mentor you want to see a sport flourish, not take steps backward,” he said.

Stokes hopes the gridiron can learn from stories that happen outside the sports world.

“With the NFL and professional sports, them looking to it will find out that a brain injury is something that doesn't go away,” he said.

The seventh annual "Beyond Rehab: Succeeding at Life - A Conference on Brain Injury" runs through Friday at the BEST Conference Center at the Edwards Campus of the University of Kansas in Overland Park.

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