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Sports Concussion

What is sports concussion? Sports concussions often occur in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, soccer and lacrosse, but they also occur in non-contact sports such as baseball, golf, and cheerleading. Most sports concussions don’t involve a loss or consciousness or a blow to the head, and many times, are overlooked by coaches and parents as they can be focused on the play. For most athletes, symptoms will resolve within two to four weeks, however for some, symptoms can persist for several months. Safe Return to Play If an impact or blow to the head is observed or suspected, and an athlete displays any of the above symptoms, they should follow the steps for a safe return to play. LEARN THE STEPS What are the signs and symptoms? What's the Difference?Signs of Sports ConcussionSymptoms Reported by AthleteWhat's the Difference? What makes a sport concussion different from other concussions? Athletes want to get back to play as soon as possible and may disregard other symptoms. The risk for a second concussion is higher when young athletes return to practice or competition too soon. The NJ Concussion Law has certain requirements before a student athlete can return to practice or competition. Signs of Sports Concussion Feel dazed or stunned Confusion Forgets plays or coaches instruction Uncertainty about opponents, time (e.g., which half, quarter), or score Alterations in coordination or clumsiness Gait or balance problems Shows personality, mood, or behavior change Forgets events prior to or after the impact Loss of consciousness Symptoms Reported by Athlete Headache or pressure in the head Dizziness Balance Problems Nausea or Vomiting Sensitivity to light Sensitivity to noise Lethargy or fatigue Problems remembering Poor attention/concentration Not feeling right Slowed processing Numbness or tingling Sleep problems How to manage a sports concussion How a sports concussion is diagnosed A sports concussion is a medical diagnosis and should be evaluated and diagnosed by a physician. Athletes may report symptoms during the game or after, and sometimes days later. These symptoms should be taken as seriously as those reported on the day of the impact, and the athlete should be evaluated by a physician. A doctor will review how the impact occurred, signs and symptoms, and medical history. They will also conduct a neurological examination which assesses vision, hearing, balance, coordination, and cognitive functions. Concussions should be managed by medical physicians and licensed healthcare providers who have specialized training in the management and treatment of concussion. Recovery from sports related concussion Cognitive and physical rest The standard of care following a diagnosis of concussion is physical and cognitive rest. During the first few days of recovery, athletes who have sustained concussion should restrict physical AND cognitive activities that require attention and concentration, as they may exacerbate and possibly prolong overall recovery. It is expected that athletes who have sustained concussion who limit relevant physical and cognitive activities will not require further intervention and will recover spontaneously. What limiting cognitive and physical rest looks like Student Athletes should be provided with a return to learn plan and a set of personalized academic accommodations to assist in their recovery. Some athletes may be [...]
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Concussion

What is a concussion? A concussion is often referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging brain cells and creating chemical changes in the brain. There may be signs of injury to the head, such as bruising or cuts, or there may be no visible injury. A person does not necessarily lose consciousness after a concussion. Concussions are usually not life-threatening but, they should be taken seriously. Remember: A concussion/mTBI is an injury to the brain, not just ‘seeing stars’. Most people will recover completely within 2-3 weeks if given the proper periods of rest and a gradual return to activities. Repeated concussions occurring over an extended period can result in cumulative neurological and cognitive effects. Repeated concussions occurring within a short period of time can be catastrophic. Request a Workshop BIANJ offers customizable workshops for parents, teachers, and coaches. Contact us today to get your school up to speed on concussion prevention, recognition, and treatment. REQUEST A WORKSHOP Symptoms of Concussion Symptoms of concussion can vary, but common signs include: Dizziness Headaches Blurred Vision Nausea Vomiting Slurred Speech Appearing Dazed, Confused Ringing in the Ears Delayed Response to Questions What If I Have a Sports Concussion? LEARN THE SIGNS When to Seek Medical Attention Healthcare professionals recommend individuals contact their physician, call 911 , or go to the nearest emergency department immediately if someone sustains a bump, blow, or jolt to the head and has these symptoms: A headache that gets worse and does not go away Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination Repeated vomiting or nausea Slurred speech Drowsiness or cannot be awakened Pupil asymmetry Convulsions or seizures Does not recognize people or places Increased confusion, restlessness, and agitation Unusual behavior Loss of consciousness Treatment Many people who have a concussion will experience initial symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, thinking difficulties, and changes in behavior. Symptoms typically diminish after two to three weeks. If symptoms continue beyond two weeks, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional trained in concussion management. Evaluation by healthcare professionals trained in the care of concussion is important After sustaining a concussion, it is very important to avoid any activity that places the individual at risk of sustaining another concussion Assure the individual that symptoms will subside if a recovery plan that balances rest and activity is followed Since most people will recover completely, accommodations will be temporary Healthcare professionals who are trained in concussion management will also take into consideration the stressors in the person’s life and how those may impact the recovery process. All factors need to be considered and addressed as a part of the recovery plan. The good news is that research shows that early identification, education, and management of symptoms can prevent long-term symptoms. Managing the symptoms through a balance of rest and activity is the key to recovery. Post [...]
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About Brain Injury

Brain Injury Basics The brain controls everything we say, do, think, and feel. It keeps us alive through breathing, circulation, digestion, hormones, and the immune system. Through the brain, we experience emotion and express ourselves. A brain injury may produce an altered or diminished state of consciousness and result in an impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning. It can also result in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These impairments may be temporary or permanent and cause partial or total functional disability. NJ Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Fund The NJ TBI Fund, a Division of Disability Services program, provides New Jersey residents of any age who have survived a traumatic brain injury the opportunity to access the brain injury related services and supports they need to live in the community. Call 1-800-669-4323 for help. EMAIL US FOR INFO Types of Brain Injury A brain injury is an injury to the brain that occurs after birth and is not congenital, degenerative or hereditary. The injury results in a change of the brain’s neuronal activity. There are two types of brain injury: Traumatic Brain Injury and Acquired Brain Injury. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) A TBI is caused by an external factor such as a bump, blow or jolt to the head, that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI can be defined as closed (non-penetrating) or open (penetrating). The severity of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may range from “mild” (i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury). Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) ABI is an injury to the brain that is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. This type of injury is one that has occurred after birth. ABI can result in cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioral impairments that may lead to permanent or temporary changes in functioning. Causes of Brain Injury Causes of Traumatic Brain InjuryCauses of Acquired Brain InjuryCauses of Traumatic Brain Injury Falls Assaults Motor Vehicle Crashes Sports/Recreation Injuries Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome) Gunshot Wounds Workplace Injuries Child Abuse Domestic Violence Military Actions (Blast Injury) Causes of Acquired Brain Injury Stroke (Hemorrhage, Blood Clot) Infectious Disease Meningitis Encephalitis Seizure Electric Shock Tumors Metabolic Disorders Neurotoxic Poisoning (Carbon Monoxide, Lead Exposure) Lack of Oxygen (Drowning, Choking, Hypoxic/Anoxic Injury) Drug Overdose LOOKING FOR A SUPPORT GROUP? We have both virtual and in-person support groups for you and your family members. REGISTER TODAY Possible Effects of Brain Injury A brain injury can cause a wide range of  short or long-term changes: Thinking (i.e., memory and reasoning) Sensation (i.e., touch, taste, and smell) Language (i.e., communication, expression, and understanding); and Emotion (i.e., depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness) Physical (i.e, seizures, muscle spasticity, fatigue, headaches, balance problems, and more) Some people with brain injury experience mild to moderate symptoms that are manageable, and others experience more profound changes that require them to have life-long care and assistance. It is important to maintain follow up with medical professionals. If you or someone you know has a brain injury [...]
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Resources

We're here to help. Whether you have a brain injury or concussion, are a caregiver or a professional, we have many resources available for you. If you're in need of further assistance, please give our helpline a call at 1-800-669-4323. Brain InjuryCaregiversProfessionalsConcussion/Sports ConcussionBrain Injury HELPFUL ARTICLES Alcohol Use Social Skills Emotional Problems Relationships Balance Problems Headaches Seizures Vision Problems Spasticity Sleep Loss of Taste and Smell Returning to School FACT SHEETS Free and Low Cost Legal Services in NJ Housing Info Guide Fatigue Transportation for People with Brain Injury No IEPs in College Healing Your Marriage After Brain Injury VIDEOS The ABLE Act Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income Neurofatigue: The Tired Brain and How to Manage It Mental Wellness in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy Following Traumatic Brain Injury Learning Travel Skills to Lead to Independent Mobility in the Community Persuasion: A Cornerstone of Effective Advocacy Brain Aneurysms – A Comprehensive Guide for Patients Sex and Intimacy After TBI Nutrition and the Brain Made Simple Relationships Caregivers HELPFUL ARTICLES Returning to School FACT SHEETS Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss Healing Your Marriage After Brain Injury Making Life Work After Brain Injury – English Making Life Work After Brain Injury – Spanish Paying the Bills Take Care of Yourself Acute Brain Injury Guide First Few Days Selecting a Rehabilitation Facility Questions to Consider Before Discharge Free and Low Cost Legal Services in NJ Power of Attorney and Guardianship Helping Your Family Member Live Independently No IEPs in College A Parent’s Guide to Concussion A Parent’s Guide to Concussion – Spanish VIDEOS Loss and Grief Following Brain Injury Caring for Caregivers Persuasion: A Cornerstone of Effective Advocacy Discharged from Rehab, Now What? IEP Strategies for the Student that has Sustained a Brain Injury Pediatric Brain Injury Relationships Professionals   FACT SHEETS Coach’s Pocket Card Concussion in the Classroom Executive Dysfunction in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Craniosacral Therapy and Brain Injury: A Pathway to Healing Impact of End Stage Renal Disease on Outcomes of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury at Acute Rehabilitation Discharge The NIDILRR-sponsored TBI Model System Program Epilepsy After Brain Injury Prism Adaptation Treatment for Improving Function Vision and Functional Movements in Patients with Spatial Neglect VIDEOS New Approaches to Diagnosing and Treating Cognitive and Neurobehavioral Problems in Patients with TBI Neurosurgical Management of Brain Aneurysms Applying an Integrated Approach to Managing the Behavioral Consequences of Emergencies Neurofatigue: The Tired Brain and How to Manage It Exploring Executive Dysfunction in Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Domestic Violence and the Role of the Healthcare Provider: Assessment and Intervention Strategies IEP Strategies for the Student that has Sustained a Brain Injury Pediatric Brain Injury Traumatic Brain Injury as a Chronic Health Condition Non-Pharmacological Management of Sleep Disturbances After TBI How Individuals with Brain Injury May Benefit from Advocacy Support and Guidelines for Self-Advocacy Creative Treatment Strategies Throughout the Aging Process Comprehensive Approach to Concussion and Athlete Brain Health Medical Marijuana: Where We Have Been, Where We Are Heading, Where Are We Now New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Progress 2020 Clinical Applications of [...]
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David Gealt, DO

David B. Gealt, DO, a South Jersey native, is the Assistant Director of Sports Medicine and Director of the Sports Concussion Program at Cooper Bone and Joint Institute, Cooper University Health System. He is an Assistant Professor of Cooper Medical School at Rowan University and and Assistant Professor of Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine. He received his fellowship training in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University Hospital Health Systems in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Gealt completed his residency in family medicine from UMDNJ-SOM newly named Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and is board-certified in Family Medicine and Sports Medicine. Dr. Gealt specializes in medical orthopaedics, sports medicine and concussion medicine. He lectures nationally and regionally on various sports medicine topics. He has both authored publications in peer reviewed journals and has contributed to sports medicine textbooks. He serves as team physician for Rowan University, Haverford College, Rutgers Camden and various high schools throughout Southern New Jersey. He served as the team physician for the Philadelphia Wings Professional Indoor Lacrosse team. He recently had the opportunity to be a team physician for USA Olympics at the Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs. Dr. Gealt is an active member of the American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, and American Osteopathic Association, as well as various state and local medical societies. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees and the Sports Concussion Committee for the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey. He has been named Top Doc and Top Doc for Kids in Sports Medicine in SJ Magazine. He is an avid runner who participates in several road races each year. Dr. Gealt resides in Voorhees, NJ with his wife, son and daughter.

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Careers with us

Make a difference in the lives of people with brain injury. The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey is on a mission to improve the quality of life for anyone impacted by brain injury by providing support, advocacy, and information, while promoting brain injury prevention. Health Benefits Community Outreach 401K Matching 144047Lives Touched 36Fundraising Events 300000Donations Made 10005K Walkers Current Openings Support Coordinator Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (the Alliance), a state wide non-profit provider of quality services, is expanding their Support Coordination Department and seeks Full time Support Coordinator (s) to work with individuals with disabilities. This position is office based (North Brunswick) and could require travel to Union, Essex, Morris, Bergen, Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer and Somerset counties. The Alliance is proud to provide a supportive and collegial working environment. Health, dental and life insurance and a 401(k) are included as a benefit of employment for full time employees. All full time employees receive twelve paid holidays per year, as well as vacation and sick time. Travel is reimbursed at the federal level. Immediate hire and competitive salary. Key Responsibilities: Provide support coordination/case management to individuals who are eligible for DDD services. Develop and monitor individualized service plans for adults with developmental disabilities Assist individuals with developmental disabilities to explore and access community supports Develop and maintain positive working relationships with families and community providers. Position requires travel and candidate must have valid NJ driver’s license and a dependable means of transportation. Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree required in a social services field (social work, psychology, etc.) At least one year documented experience working with adults with developmental disabilities required (experience can be in a volunteer capacity). Excellent organizational skills. Must be able to work independently. Ability to meet or exceed deadlines.  Strong team player willing to take direction, initiate business activities and work with management staff and peers. Extensive training provided but experience working/volunteering in a social service setting is preferred. Applicants must have valid driver’s license and automobile, travel within New Jersey required.- Must pass all DDD and Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey back ground checks. Please either upload your resume using the form to the right or email your resume and cover letter to Kara Francis at kfrancis@bianj.org, and Nicole DeLorenzo at ndelorenzo@bianj.org. Community Resource Specialist Location: North Brunswick, New Jersey The Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ) is a statewide non-profit with a mission to improve the quality of life for anyone impacted by brain injury by providing support, advocacy, and information, while promoting brain injury prevention.  We are seeking to hire a part-time (10 hours per week) Community Resource Specialist. The position will be based in Central and North Jersey, including Essex, Middlesex, and Union Counties.  Our ideal candidate is resourceful, organized, positive, team oriented and able to work independently. You must have a commitment to equity as well as cultural competency skills and an ability to connect with underserved communities. Key Responsibilities: Maintain a caseload of children and adults with brain injury and family members. Act as an advocate for individuals in a variety of situations. Connect individuals and family members to [...]
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