Madras Pioneer - Brock Monger - ConcussionDuring a high school football game last year between Madras and Redmond, Apex Physical Therapy co-owner and licensed athletic trainer Brock Monger, DPT, ATC, noticed the familiar signs of a potential concussion. The crack of helmets, a delay in getting up, a slight stumble, disorientation … to a trained eye, the symptoms of a concussion are difficult to miss, even from the sidelines.

“I have about a three-second threshold,” Brock said. “If a player takes three seconds or more to get to his feet, I don’t hesitate – I’m on the field to check on his condition.”

On this particular night, Brock initially diagnosed a possible concussion and had just helped the player to the sidelines for additional testing. While he was attending to the player, a coach interrupted.

“He suspected another kid was experiencing concussion-type symptoms and he wanted to bring it to my attention,” Brock said. “This is great awareness on the coach’s part, and it definitely signals an across-the-board improvement in people’s awareness about concussions, from student-athletes and their parents to school administrators and coaches. We’re definitely headed in a good direction.”

Since the fall of 2007, Brock has provided athletic training services along the sidelines at Madras High School football games as well as courtside during several boys’ and girls’ basketball games. Throughout these six years, Brock credits the efforts of the health care community – locally, regionally and nationally – in working to shift the sports culture from cavalier to caution when it comes to the potential for head injury.

“Better awareness by coaches and administrators, thanks to efforts by leaders in the health care community, have helped change the sports culture from ‘getting your bell rung’ to ‘when it doubt, sit it out,’” he said.

Brock added that there’s still work to do. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA), for instance, between 4 and 6 percent of high school football athletes sustain concussions each year, with studies suggesting that nearly half of these athletes don’t report signs of a concussion to medical personnel. Here are some other concussion facts:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year.
  • According to the Sports Concussion Institute (SCI), 5 to 10 percent of athletes will experience a concussion in any given sport. Symptoms typically include headache (85 percent of concussions) and dizziness (70-80 percent), while fewer than 10 percent of concussions will result in a lack of consciousness.
  • Also according to the SCI, football is the most common sport with concussion risk for males (75 percent chance for concussion) while for females, that sport is soccer (50 percent chance of concussion).

“Awareness is better, but concussions still present a serious problem in contact sports, especially with high school athletes who are smaller in stature and strength and who haven’t mastered proper technique,” Brock said. “Plus, no device can truly prevent a concussion. So when it comes to concussion prevention, diagnosis and recover, education is key.”

With better education in mind, Monger recently took part in an information symposium at Madras High School, an event at which parents of student-athletes learned about concussions – the risks, the warning signs, prevention, etc. Joining Brock was Brian Stenberg, MS, ATC, a licensed athletic trainer and a P.E. instructor at Jefferson County Middle School who’s working in collaboration with Apex Physical Therapy to provide athletic training services for Madras student-athletes.
“We are doing our best to educate the community, especially parents, about concussions,” Brock said. “Also at the parents meeting, we discussed why we’re doing preseason testing with ImPACT again this year.”
Short for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, ImPACT is the world’s most widely used and scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. Utilized throughout Central Oregon and administered at Madras High School by Brock and Brian, ImPACT establishes a baseline of variables for each student-athlete through a set of neurocognitive tests. These tests can later be re-administered and the results compared to baseline variables in order to quickly diagnose a suspected concussion.
The Center Foundation based in Bend, OR, initially brought the ImPACT system to Madras as part of their concussion outreach efforts five years ago.
“The best concussion prevention is proper equipment and proper technique, but there’s always going to be a risk,” Brock said. “That’s why we take a multi-faceted approach to concussion prevention, diagnosis and treatment – one that includes education, testing with assessment tools like ImPACT, rapid diagnosis, and healing. As a community, this puts us all in a positive direction when it comes to concussions and ensuring the long-term health of our student-athletes.”
To further this goal, Apex Physical Therapy offers all Madras and Culver High School student athletes a complimentary Injured Athlete Assessmentdesigned to encourage the timely evaluation and treatment of aches, pains and movement limitations related to extra-curricular activities.
If you’re a student-athlete, a parent, a coach, or a school official who would like more information about concussion prevention, the ImPACT system or Apex’s Injured Athlete Assessments, please give Brock a call at Apex Physical Therapy, 541-475-1218. He’ll be happy to answer your questions and help put you and/or the athletes in your life on a path toward greater and safer performance.