First week of 2014 Legislative Session is complete

We have completed our first week of the 2014 Legislative Session.

For those of us who work at the capitol the completion of the restoration is wonderful. Not only are all the committee meeting rooms completed but the visitors’ center is well done and provides historic information concerning our state. I urge you to visit sometime during the legislative session. The best time would be between now and the middle of May. I would enjoy seeing any constituent so please contact my office by phone if we can assist you in any way.

On Thursday we had testimony concerning “Concussion” from a neurologist, Dr. Bart Grelinger, in our Health and Human Services Committee. Dr. Grelinger, who also serves as president of the Sedgwick County Medical Society, made a very thought-provoking presentation.

As a result of the publicity surrounding concussion in the National Football League many are gaining a better understanding of the importance of this condition. Thanks to changes in state law parents whose children are participating in sports must sign a release indicating that they have received information concerning concussion. A physician must also sign a release for a middle school or senior high school athlete to return to competition following a concussion.

A concussion is the most common form of head injury suffered by athletes. It is a form of traumatic brain injury that occurs when the brain is violently jarred back and forth or rotated inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body. Even a whiplash type injury can result in concussion. Therefore any athlete in motion is at risk for concussion. This may occur in any sport, to boys and girls alike. Also 90% of concussions do not result in loss of consciousness.

Because a brain scan cannot detect concussion it is determined through “clinical diagnosis”. An athlete with concussion appears dazed, moves clumsily or has slurred speech and may not recall events before or after the hit. The athlete may report headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, double or fuzzy vision. Frequently concussion will result in concentration or memory problems. Dr. Grelinger emphasized the importance of complete resolution of these symptoms before returning to athletic competition in order to prevent permanent brain injury. Parents should play an important role in helping coaches in the determination of when an athlete is ready to return to play following a concussion.

The Kansas Medical Society has sponsored the Kansas Sports Concussion Partnership. This organization is playing a very important role in working with health care professionals, coaches, athletic trainers and parents in providing valuable information concerning concussion.

It is a pleasure to serve the 77th District in the House of Representatives. Please call my office if you have issues of concern at 785-296-6989.