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Concussions topic of coaches meeting

Dr. Pasqualino Caputo, M.D., talks with school and youth commission coaches at Westport Central School about proper care for athletes who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury, like a concussion. Caputo worked with the Moriah football team this year and is the school’s physician.

Dr. Pasqualino Caputo, M.D., talks with school and youth commission coaches at Westport Central School about proper care for athletes who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury, like a concussion. Caputo worked with the Moriah football team this year and is the school’s physician. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— Coaches in the Westport community got the chance to learn about head trauma and concussions during a special workshop held by the Westport Health Center’s Dr. Pasqualino Caputo, M.D., Nov. 13.

Caputo, who is certified in sports medicine and has studied brain trauma injuries, has worked with several schools on concussion issues, including the Moriah football program.

“These are a functional problem and not a structural problem,” Caputo told the high school and youth commission coaches that attended the workshop. “You are not going to see anything with a concussion, and that is what makes it hard.”

The workshop was put on to help coaches understand more about what concussions are in the face of new state regulations regarding the treatment of players who may experience head injuries, including the need for any student-athlete suspected of an injury to receive clearance from a physician before they can return to the field or court.

“We have presented a concussion management plan to our board,” athletic director Brad Rascoe said. “The state has told us what our obligations are as a school and we are working on that.”

“There is a really good protocol in place, and there is a set plan of progression,” school nurse Carol Schwoebel said.

“The communication needs to be back and forth between the coaches, the doctors and everyone in the school,” Caputo said. “Working with Moriah was great because I was on the phone with the athletic director and we were able to get kids through the progressions easier because we were working together.”

Westport uses a computer program to perform baseline tests on student athletes which can be used in case of a brain trauma injury to chart any affects the injury may have had.

“Baseline testing is very important,” Caputo said. “It gives us something to go off when an injury happens. There also has to be a short, physical test as well.”

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