A student athlete gets checked by a physician for a concussion.

As more research and studies show that head injuries and concussions can lead to long-term and serious effects, local health and athletic experts are teaming up bring more awareness to parents, athletes and coaches.

Shore Medical Center will host a free education event Thursday at the Flyers Skate Zone in Atlantic City to inform parents and caregivers of athletes at risk for concussions about prevention, recognition, impact and treatment of athletes who may suffer that type of head injury.

Experts will use demonstrations and examples of hockey and other sports-related injuries that can occur to show the risks associated with concussions, which happen when there is a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head.

Of the 2.8 million traumatic brain injury-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in 2013, most were concussions, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Scientists have explored more about concussions in recent years, especially as high rates of head injuries are found in sports such as football. Researchers have looked into how repeated head injuries and concussions could lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.

About 300,000 children who were treated in a single year for a concussion or brain injury got hurt while playing sports or in recreation, according to the CDC. Research has shown that brain injuries among high school males occur most often in football, while females suffer more head injuries in soccer.

Concussion symptoms include dizziness, headache, vision trouble, sometimes brief unconsciousness, fatigue, poor balance, sensitivity to light, vomiting and disorientation, among others.

Jennifer Pesce, physical therapist and director of rehabilitation at Shore, and Jared Siganuk, hockey director at the Flyers Skate Zone, will talk about the dangers of concussions, how to avoid them or what to do when an athlete may suffer from a head injury, as well as Shore’s Center for Outpatient Rehabilitation services.

Pesce also will offer free baseline tests for athletes that can be used in the future if there is a suspected concussion.

The event will run from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the skate zone, 501 N. Albany Ave., Atlantic City. For more information, contact Brian Cahill at 609-653-3527 or email bcahill@

Contact: 609-272-7022 Twitter @ACPressNLeonard

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