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Seminar on concussions is planned for Monday, Sept. 30, in Hastings

Hastings residents have an opportunity to learn all about concussions Monday. The Regina Foundation’s newly formed Community Relations Committee will host a seminar on the topic from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Regina Medical Center Conference Center.

The seminar will help people learn about the diagnosis, treatment and after-care of concussions. Sports-related concussions will be the main focus, said committee chairperson Joe Harris, but doctors will also talk about concussions that are a result of other common activities such as falling off a bicycle and concussions that occur without any trauma to the head.

The seminar will also talk about what Hastings High School does for all its athletes. The school uses a program that establishes a cognitive baseline before students get involved with sports, and is used over a student’s high school athletic career to track any potential deviation from the baseline.

The seminar will address the issue from different angles. Although the most commonly known source of concussions may be sports, helping someone recover isn’t just about getting him or her back in the game.

“There’s a lot of academic issues for younger individuals,” Harris said.

There will also be information on the best way to care for those recovering from a concussion. For example, younger patients should avoid using computers, smart phones and tablets for a few weeks because their eyes and brains can be sensitive to light.

This is the Community Relations Committee’s first seminar. Made up of citizens, the committee is tasked with finding health and medical topics the community would be interested in. Members have discussed topics over the past few months and decided to launch their public awareness campaign with the matter of concussions.

“We just really felt that this particular issue is a buzz issue right now,” Harris said. “It’s on the forefront of a lot of people’s minds.”

The idea, he said, is to put more information into citizens’ hands and give them a chance to hear from the experts.

Speakers at the seminar will be Dr. Peter Schill of Allina Medical Clinic in Hastings, HHS Athletic Director Tom Johnson, and Ben Utecht, a Hastings native and former NFL player who had his professional sports career ended by a concussion.

The seminar is free, but RSVPs are requested. RSVP by calling the Regina Foundation at 651-404-1104 or emailing