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Dr. Kelly Watson Huffer to give October 23 lecture on the impact of concussions

ISSUED: 11 October 2019
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Common Reading program is hosting “Concussion: Implications for Health and Academic Success” on Wednesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will follow.

Dr. Kelly Watson Huffer, assistant professor of nursing education, will discuss the impact concussions may have on student health and academic success. Huffer will cover the mechanism of concussions.

“We’ll discuss a little anatomy and physiology, what happens, why it happens in the manner that it does, and what some of the long-term and short-term consequences are,” Huffer said.

Huffer worked in college health as a nurse practitioner for 20 years and saw a lot of students with concussions from sports such as football, lacrosse, and volleyball, or from horsing around or doing things like leaning too far back in a chair and falling over.

“I did a tremendous amount of concussion management, not only in athletes but in the general student population,” she said. “We know we have to treat the brain similarly with academics as we do with sports. There is a graduated protocol for returning to the classroom in a timely manner. If we don’t treat appropriately in the beginning, then students can end up with post-concussive syndrome, which takes months, if not years, to recover from.”

Huffer said symptoms of a concussion include headache, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, and difficulties with concentration and memory.

Huffer hopes those who attend the lecture come away with a better understating of what a concussion is and how to handle it.

“Returning to academics is the piece that seems to be the most ignored for most students in the university setting,” she said. “I hope faculty, if they attend, will have a better awareness.”

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