Spring 2008 Issue

The Carolina Sports Concussion Program Helps Soccer Phenom Make The Pros

When an athlete suffers a concussion, the greatest danger lies in returning to the field or court too soon and suffering a second, more debilitating or deadly, head injury. The Carolina Sports Concussion Program at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates can significantly reduce this danger by utilizing objective neurocognitive tests to determine if an athlete has fully recovered from a concussion.

Collegiate soccer player Darcel Mollon received a concussion-inducing head injury during a tournament game. Although she appeared fine physically, she immediately knew something was wrong. Darcel was nauseous, lethargic and had difficulty concentrating.

“Even a mild blow to the head can be serious,” said physiatrist David R. Wiercisiewski, M.D., Director of the Carolina Sports Concussion Program. “Signs and symptoms of a concussion can show up right after the injury or may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury.”

Through the Carolina Sports Concussion Program, Darcel was examined and took a post-injury neurocognitive ImPACT test, which measures various brain functions, including memory, processing speed, reaction time and symptoms. Over the months that followed, Darcel could see her progression as her cognitive skills returned to normal and her test scores improved. She was soon released to play soccer again.

“Because of the test, I was confident when I stepped back on the field and wasn't worried I would injure myself again,” said Darcel.

“Darcel is a wonderful example of how we can help ensure an athlete has recovered completely from a concussion,” said Dr. Wiercisiewski. “After a successful college career, she now plays professional soccer in Sweden.”


To learn more about the Carolina Sports Concussion Program, go to www.concussionrecovery.com.


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