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Forum on sports concussions held at Saint Louis University

Coaches, athletic directors, and school nurses from across Missouri met at Saint Louis University on Thursday for a forum on sports concussions in student athletes.

The Brain Injury Association of Missouri sponsored the conference, which drew about 200 participants.

Saint Louis University neurologist and conference panelist Dr. Raman Malhotra says symptoms of a concussion can include headache, nausea, memory loss, and even irritability and depression.

He says athletes suspected of having a concussion should see a doctor and get plenty of rest.

"The main thing is to make sure they are not continuing to play, because at that point it could go from a concussion to a more serious head injury, or it may end up making the symptoms last longer," Malhotra said.

Malhotra says most patients with a concussion feel better within a week, but symptoms can last for months. Left untreated, concussions can cause permanent brain damage.

Corey Adkisson came all the way from Missouri's bootheel to attend the conference. Adkisson coaches varsity football at Kennett High School and sees at least one or two students get concussions every year.

He says his priority is keeping his players safe.

"You know we want to be competitive and do all that kind of stuff, but you know, a lot of these kids aren't going to go on and be professional athletes, this is the experience of playing football, and we want to make it a good one," Adkisson said. "We don't want to make it where it's a life-threatening deal for them."

Last year both Missouri and Illinois enacted laws designed to protect student athletes. The laws prevent students suspected of having concussions from continuing to play until they have been seen and cleared by a medical professional.

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