An event in Howell Wednesday night drew attention to brain injuries, specifically concussions, as well as the many falsehoods surrounding the issue.

The Historic Howell Theater hosted a screening of the documentary “Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis” to commemorate March being designated as Brain Injury Awareness Month. The documentary discussed how concussions affect athletes of all levels and where the injury is prioritized in sports. However the movie was made approximately five years ago, so a panel of professionals shared their thoughts following the screening including what aspects they agreed with and the strides that have been made since.

Panel member and Sports Writer Joanne Gerstner is a Professor at Michigan State University and feels a lot of fear about concussions have been spread- so much so that some feel parents are reckless by letting their child participate in sports. Gerstner expressed the idea of a socioeconomic component in the matter and that it is handled dependent on the area and resources available.

M.D. Jeffrey Kutcher, the National Director of the Sports Neurology Clinic, voiced his thoughts from the panel as well. He feels concussions should be taken seriously, but says not all symptoms caused by a hit during the game automatically indicate that type of trauma. Kutcher also believes since the movie’s release, progress has been made in terms of evaluating and treating concussions. He feels clarity on the issue has improved and it’s viewed in a more mature approach. Kutcher says he doesn’t think “everything’s rosy”, but is focused on progressive movements made in the field each year.

The third and final panel member, Dr. Janice White of Rainbow Rehabilitation Centers, spoke not only as a doctor, but also provided a point of view as a mother whose child played contact sports through college. She feels it is better to error on the side of caution when it comes to head trauma and that parents should advocate and intervene on their child’s behalf.

While all three professionals varied on the spectrum for aspects pertaining to the prevention, treatment and management of concussions, the panel seemed to agree that anyone who experiences a concussion should be handled with a customized approach. In the world of life, sports and brain injuries, the panel says “one size does not fit all”. (DK)