Roper St. Francis and CCSD helping athletes

By Valencia

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Angela Servello says her son has been playing football since he was five years old. So, she knows the worry that comes along with being a football parent. But, this year, Servello can be at ease thanks to a new county-wide medical coverage program for Charleston County students.

"You're really concerned because, I mean, every time they take a hit at the head you know you're wondering 'is my son okay'," said Servello.

"Most people have a misconception that helmets prevent concussions," said Johnny Boykin, head football coach for Stall High School. "And, over the years it's been proven it's not really about the helmet, its about the action of the jaw on impact."

This year, Charleston County Schools and Roper St. Francis Healthcare launched a sports medicine program that provides sports medicine trainers for every high school in Charleston County.

{}"It's the first time that this area of the Lowcountry has had this type of concussion management program implemented in all of its schools," said Danielle Greenman, sports medicine coordinator for Roper St. Francis Healthcare. {}

The program offers computerized IMPACT testing and sideline tools for athletes.

"We test the balance, memory, cognitive skills, different neuro psych tests from physical tests. We do different things to test the brain function of that athlete at the time," Greenman said.

Already coaches and trainers say the program is a win-win.

"We've already seen multiple concussions at the beginning of football season and we've already seen the affects of how positive this software and our other tools have done to creating a better management program for our athletes," said Greenman.

"I think the biggest thing that's come out of it is a lot of collaboration between all different forms of the medical staff," Boykin said.

Like Greenman and Boykin, Servello says because of this program she is confident whenever her son hits the field.

"I feel like our team has one of the best coaches that tell the boys and train them the proper way to do things."

The Centers for Disease Control reports nearly 150,000 children between in ages of 5 - 18 are treated for head injuries in emergency rooms nationwide. Also, repeated concussions could put a child at risk for diseases like Dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.