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Parents advised to beware of so-called concussion clinics

Much of what we know today about concussions stem from extensive research which was conducted during the now infamous lawsuit filed against the National Football League by more than 4,500 former NFL players. Since that time, there's been a wealth of research and studies that confirm the damaging effects of concussions and specifically repeat concussions.

Today, all 50 states have passed legislation that requires student athletes who suffer a concussion to receive an all-clear from a doctor before being allowed to return to play. These type of policies are good and help reduce the likelihood that an athlete will suffer permanent brain damage, however, they are also being exploited by some healthcare professionals who appear to simply be looking to cash in.

Promising early diagnosis and effective treatments, concussion clinics are springing up across the U.S. When conducting a search, one national registry provides the names and addresses of 517 such clinics throughout the U.S. It turns out, however, that the vast majority of the so-called concussion experts who run these clinics have little to no training in how to actually diagnose and treat a concussion.

We talk a lot in this blog about the complex nature of the human brain and how brain researchers and scientists are continually finding out new things about the brain and how it functions. It seems laughable then that someone who is a dermatologist, chiropractor or physical therapist would think they could pay a couple of hundred dollars to complete a basic training and suddenly open their own concussion clinic. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what's happening and many concerned parents, athletes and coaches are lining up for the services these clinics offer.

From a genetic test that costs $300 to a computerized cognitive exam that costs $1,200, healthcare professionals are cashing in on the U.S.'s concussion obsession. For parents who are concerned that a child may have suffered a concussion, it's best to visit one's local hospital and, if necessary, obtain a referral to a neurologist.

Source: Stat News, "Concussion, Inc.: The big business of treating brain injuries," Usha Lee McFarling, Dec. 16, 2015

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