Spring/Summer 2009

Concussion Recovery
Dad Seeks Second Opinion To Protect Son After Concussion

Like most high school football players, Garret Blatnik loves to be in the game. But when a concussion put him on the sideline, his father, Tony, wanted to be sure he made a full recovery before getting back on the field. Garret plays football at Marvin Ridge High School in Waxhaw, NC. During practice in September of 2008, he had a collision during a play, which he still doesn’t remember. However, in the middle of the next play Garret just stopped in his tracks and appeared dazed.

“Everyone said he was just staring into space,” said Mr. Blatnik. “The athletic trainer at the school called me to take him to the ER.”

At the emergency room, they asked him to avoid football and to come back in one week for further evaluation. Mr. Blatnik was not satisfied with this wait-and-see approach. Another parent told him about the Carolina Sports Concussion Program at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates and he immediately called to make an appointment.

Garret was examined by Program Director David R. Wiercisiewski, M.D., and completed an ImPACT concussion test, a computer-based evaluation used by the NFL, NBA, and other professional and collegiate sports organizations.


“This post-injury neurocognitive test allows us to objectively evaluate, document and measure the athlete’s various brain functions, including memory, processing speed, reaction time and symptoms,” said Dr. Wiercisiewski.

Garret performed poorly on the concussion test and was given a recovery regimen, which he strictly followed. Three weeks later, he was retested and cleared to play.

“Properly managing a concussion is the key to preventing persistent post-concussion symptoms, permanent neurological deficits or even death,” said Dr. Wiercisiewski.

Since the concussion, Mr. Blatnik has become an advocate for the Carolina Sports Concussion Program and encourages all student athletes at Marvin Ridge High School to get a baseline concussion test. The baseline test provides data for comparison if an athlete suffers a concussion during the season. Baseline concussion tests are available online for students and other athletes for a small fee at www.ConcussionRecovery.com.

For more information about concussion assessment and treatment, call 704-831-HEAD (4323) or go to www.ConcussionRecovery.com.



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