Sports medicine officials talk concussion awareness

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Football is now in full swing and athletes are back on the fields, so WDBJ7 sat down with Virginia Tech and Carilion folks to talk concussion awareness.

"We're dealing with athletes that think they're invincible, they're just at that age, and they're athletic and energetic," Mike Goforth, Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine at Virginia Tech, said.

Goforth has seen sports injuries, like concussions, often over his 21 years at the university.

"We've got a whole host of medical professionals on the sidelines, we also have an independent medical observer up in the box to look for any instances that might be concussions, we also have our hit system which is the helmet centers that are keyed in to a laptop and into a pager system to alert our physicians anytime there is a blow which might result in a concussion," Goforth explained.

But even with a system backing Virginia Tech players up, Goforth says it's important to always stay on top of educating their athletes on concussions--that's why they work closely with Carilion Clinic.

"Every kid now knows that there's a serious situation when it comes to concussions, about when to report it and how to handle it at that point, so this region is really, really fortunate to have all these entities to come together to try to protect our kids," Goforth said.

Carilion just released a concussion awareness video to assist athletes in finding where to go for help, "So that if athletes or their families or grandma wants to go look at it, they can get that basic information that sort of directs them," Thomas Miller, Vice Chair of Orthopedic Surgery and Section Chief for Sports Medicine at Carilion Clinic, said.

He says they are pushing education to encourage athletes to get checked out when in doubt.

"The big issue is we don't want concussions to be missed," Miller said.

"Do your due diligence, if you see something that you think might have happened on the playing field or court that might result in a concussion, make sure you talk to that kid, look him in the eyes, if anything is off at all make sure you get him out and get him checked out," Goforth said.