SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Big Safety: 10-Year-Old Skating Phenom Helps Launch Concussion Awareness Program with The University of Kansas Hospital

KANSAS CITY, Kan., Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Evan Doherty is a 10-year-old skateboarding star who's been flashing his skills since he was four. He earned the nickname "Big E" when his mom put a big red "E" on his t-shirt to spot him easily during his first international competition at age five.  He's been taking top honors at national and international competitions ever since.

"My parents put a helmet on me the first time I skated, and I've worn one ever since," said Doherty, who has never experienced a concussion. "It would feel weird to skate without one."  

Big E, however, sees too many kids skateboarding, riding bikes and playing other sports without a helmet.  He's teaming up with The University of Kansas Hospital to kick off its "Big Safety" campaign with a dedicated website – www.kumed.com/BigSafety – filled with easy to understand information on the signs of concussion plus an opportunity for kids to take a pledge with Big E to always wear their helmet. After taking the pledge, they are encouraged to Tweet about it using #BigSafety. A video interview with Big E, along with an example of his skating, is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXktDXFLkAI

In 2009, an estimated 446,788 sports-related head injuries were treated in hospital ERs in the U.S., ranging from cycling to football, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics and skating.

"Concussions are serious business, especially for young athletes," said Randall Goldstein, DO, Big E's team doctor and the medical director of the Center for Youth Sports Medicine at The University of Kansas Hospital. "We hope this program helps both parents and children understand more about how to avoid and recognize concussions so they can be safer. And, for kids who don't always like to listen to adults, we hope that Big E has an influence on them, so we're glad he's on board to help push this message."

Concussion symptoms for young athletes can include:

  • Headaches
  • Throwing up
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Seeing double or blurred vision
  • Being sensitive to light or noise
  • Feeling foggy or groggy
  • Can't focus
  • Trouble remembering
  • Feeling confused
  • Just don't feel right
  • Acting irritable

"The first concussion can't always be prevented, but never put yourself or a child in a position to get a second concussion while recovering from the first," said Dr. Goldstein. "Don't be afraid to raise the issue with your coach, parent and/or caregiver if you or a teammate is experiencing concussion symptoms. The most important thing is ensuring your brain and your body are healthy."

Go to www.kumed.com/BigSafety -- and make the pledge.

The University of Kansas Hospital is the region's premier academic medical center, providing a full range of care. The hospital is affiliated with the University of Kansas Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions, and their various leading-edge research projects. The constantly growing facility contains 699 staffed beds (plus 24 bassinets) and serves more than 28,000 inpatients annually.  Nine of its medical and surgical specialty areas are ranked nationally by the U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospital" lists, including Cancer (#27), Cardiology & Heart Surgery (#23), Diabetes & Endocrinology (#38), Ear, Nose & Throat (#21), Gastroenterology and GI Surgery (#19), Geriatrics (#18), Nephrology (#35), Neurology & Neurosurgery (#20) and Pulmonology (#17).  The cancer program is part of The University of Kansas Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute designated program.  The hospital has received Magnet nursing designation, reflecting the quality of care throughout the hospital, an honor awarded to only 6.6 percent of the hospitals nationwide.  The hospital also houses the region's only burn center, the area's only nationally accredited Level I Trauma Center and the area's only Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center recognized by The Joint Commission.  For more information, visit kumed.com.

www.kumed.com/bigsafety or tweet #BigSafety" border="0" alt="10-year-old skating phenom Evan Doherty (“Big E”) is helping launch a concussion safety awareness program with The University of Kansas Hospital called “Big Safety”. Kids can learn more and take the pledge at www.kumed.com/bigsafety or tweet #BigSafety" align="middle" src="http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnvar/20130925/MM86826"/>

Video with caption: "10-year-old skating phenom Evan Doherty ("Big E") is helping launch a concussion awareness program with The University of Kansas Hospital called "Big Safety". Kids are invited to learn more and take the Big Safety pledge at www.kumed.com/BigSafety." Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXktDXFLkAI

Image with caption: "10-year-old skating phenom Evan Doherty ("Big E") is helping launch a concussion safety awareness program with The University of Kansas Hospital called "Big Safety". Kids can learn more and take the pledge at www.kumed.com/bigsafety or tweet #BigSafety." Image available at: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130925/MM86826

SOURCE The University of Kansas Hospital

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