Ross School - Senior Project 2006-07

Student: Max Gerschman 

Mentor: Robert Eldi, George Aman

Consultant: Dominic DeStefano

Domain: Wellness

Product                            

Title: The Athletes Guide to Concussions

Description:

My project is a five section pamphlet on concussions. It was inspired by my own athletic aspirations. I have been an athlete all my life and have never been excluded from sports until this year, my senior year in high school, when I was told that I might not be able to participate in the team sports which I have been a part of every year of my high school career, due to the amount of concussions I have sustained. Needing to seek expert advice, and learn more about the situation I was in, I was forced to visit numerous doctors, which can be a very time consuming, and expensive task. For the benefit of other athletes who may find themselves in my position in the future, I have created a pamphlet containing, what I feel is, the most important information regarding everything from the definition of a concussion, and signs that you have sustained one, to how to go about deciding if/when to return to play. As part of my project I have conducted extensive research on the subject, and worked with the computer programs iPhoto, and Pages, in order to plan, design, and create my pamphlet.

Details:

Senior Project Pamphlet

Abstract

After months of research, and working with my mentors, and outside community member, Dr. Dominick DeStefano, I was able to complete my pamphlet. The process included three main parts. Naturally research was the largest aspect of my process and took up a great deal of my time, but I was also constantly looking at different, already existing, pamphlets to gain inspiration for what shape I wanted mine to take. This portion of the project was forever evolving as I was inspired by different types of pamphlets, such as the accordion style, or the three-fold style, which I used for mine. The third part of my process was actually finding and learning the design program I wanted to use. Mrs. Cross introduced me to Amy Wright who happened to be teaching computer classes at the school, and is an expert on design programs. Ms. Wright set me up with a design program called Pages. This program was extremely useful as it made it possible to create much more sophisticated design schemes for my pamphlet.

Throughout the project I faced many problems and challenges. The greatest of which was my ability to find legitimate information on this topic. I learned after some time that this was an extremely widely debated topic with many question marks. As a result of this it was very difficult to know if the information I was looking at was widely supported in the medical field, thus, before using any information in my own pamphlet, I was forced to find second, third, and sometimes fourth opinions which agreed on that subject, this proved to be an exhausting, and extremely time consuming process.

Another problem I faced was my own ability to believe in this project. It was inspired by my own experience and I feared that the community would not share my interest in the topic. I realized that I was not tackling one of the greatest issues in our society, but I knew that this was something that I wanted to become more knowledgeable about.

To my surprise, and relief, some of the local public school Athletic Directors which I contacted, in an attempt to have my pamphlet distributed to their schools, took an interest in my project and seemed excited about the possibility of receiving the pamphlet, this was extremely motivational as it instilled in me a sense of verification that what I was doing was important.

Communication was an absolute vital aspect of my project, and something that I feel I improved on as time went on. In the course of a project of this magnitude it is pivotal that you maintain contact with your mentors and outside community member, to make sure that you are all on the same page, and have the same vision of where the project is going. This is something that I learned later on in the project.

I feel that from my project I was able to benefit in many ways. I was forced to conduct research at a professional level, constantly finding second and third opinions, and sifting through pages and pages of research in order to find legitimate sources. I am also able to quickly distinguish  between reliable, and less reliable, sources now than I was prior to the project.

I gained knowledge on a topic that is extremely important to my life, and could be important to many others. More than anything else I am proud to be able to say that I honestly feel that I created something which has the potential to help another person in my situation down the road, and possibly even save a life.

Bibliography or Works Cited

Echemendia, Ruben J. Sports Neuropsychology: Assessment and Management of Traumatic Brain Injury. New York. Guilford Press. 2006.

Harmon, Kimberly G. M.D. Assessment and Management of Concussion in Sport. 1 Sept. 1999. Viewed 10 Dec. 2006.<http://www.aafp.org/afp/990901ap/887.html>.

“Practice Parameter: The Management of Concussion in Sports.” 1997. Viewed 9 Dec. 2006.

Schwarz, Alan. “Expert Ties Ex-Player’s Suicide to Brain Damage.” The New York Times. 18 Jan. 2007. Viewed 19 Jan. 2007.<http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/18/sports/football/18waters.html?ex=1326776400&en=92b6c7938365593e&ei=5088>.

Solomon, Gary S. Karen M. Johnston, Mark L. Lovell. The Heads-Up on Sport Concussion. Champaign, IL. Human Kinetics. 2006.

Smayda, Richard. D.O. What is a concussion?  26 April 1999. Viewed 12 Dec. 2006.<http://www.sciam.com/askexpert_question.cfm?articleID=00063821-7519-1C71-9EB7809EC588F2D7&catID=3&topicID=12>.

Sports-Related Concussions: Background and Significance. 2007. Viewed 10 Dec. 2006.<http://neurosurgery.pitt.edu/trauma/
concussion.html>.

Community Member (Details)

Dominic DeStefano is a Physical Therapist located in Southampton, NY.  He is also the Athletic Trainer at Hampton Bays High School.