Health Corner | August 2017

screen-shot-2017-08-05-at-3-12-18-pmIt’s Football Time – But What’s The Impact?

Thanks to a grant from Norton Healthcare, some Southern Indiana football players are benefiting from testing that will help keep them safer.


A recent study confirms a connection between a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and individuals who played football.

CTE was found in 99 percent of brains of deceased former NFL players that were donated to scientific research, according to a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association on July 25, 2017. CTE is a long-term neurological condition that can cause behavioral, mood and cognitive issues, including dementia.

“This study further highlights the need for concussion education at all levels of play,” said Tad Seifert, M.D., neurologist with Norton Neuroscience Institute and director of the Norton Healthcare Sports Concussion Program. “Previous generations of athletes mistakenly continued to play through signs and symptoms of concussion. We now know, and this study confirms, that those approaches have significant short-term and potentially long-term consequences.”

The study also looked at severity of symptoms and years of play. Findings show the longer an individual played football, the more severe the symptoms. What can we take from this to keep young athletes healthy?

Those participating in contact sports should undergo ImPACT testing, which stands for Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. This is a computerized evaluation system that is similar to playing a video game.

ImPACT is given at the beginning of a season, before players potentially may be injured. This provides a baseline analysis of their brain function. Should a player sustain an injury in which a concussion is suspected, ImPACT is given again. Comparison of test results helps assess the severity of the injury and create a plan for safe return to play.

Through a grant from Norton Healthcare, high schools in the New Albany-Floyd County School Corporation and Jefferson County Public Schools districts follow the ImPACT protocol. The grant also helps the schools upgrade their teams’ football helmets to the adequate protection rating.

Dr. Seifert advises that ImPACT and using helmets with adequate protection does not replace getting immediate medical attention after a head injury.

“In the event of a suspected concussion, it’s best to err on removal from play so that an evaluation by a qualified medical provider can take place,” he said.

For more information on ImPACT or the Norton Healthcare Sports Concussion Program, call (502) 629-1234.

What Vaccines Do Teens Need?

National poll finds many parents don’t know


Is your teen is up-to-date on their vaccines? If you don’t know, you’re not alone.

According to a recent poll, more than one-third of teens’ parents don’t know when their child’s next vaccine is due. Even more troubling, 90 percent of parents thought their teen had received all shots recommended for their age. In reality, vaccination rates for things like meningitis, human papillomavirus (HPV) and even the flu are well below public health targets.

“As children get older, families are less likely to schedule yearly checkups,” said Selma Winner, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Associates – Springhurst. “Many teens may be missing out on important vaccines because families aren’t always aware it’s time for one. Vaccination is the best way to make sure our children are healthy and protected from preventable diseases.”

Researchers say the lack of awareness may be the result of constantly changing vaccine guidelines. Additionally, parents may be less informed about recommended vaccinations for teens. This is because fewer states have vaccine requirements for high schoolers compared with kindergartners and middle school students.

Dr. Winner advises the best way to make sure your child, regardless of age, is properly vaccinated is to schedule a yearly wellness visit with their pediatrician.

“Your doctor is the best person to advise you which vaccines your child needs and to discuss any questions or concerns,” she said.

Are you looking for a pediatrician for your child? Visit and click on Find A Doc to located a pediatrician in your area or call 502.629.1234.


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