Returning from injury: COPE-ing with concussion

Concussion was the topic at a seminar at Jefferson Community College Wednesday night.
Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 7:15 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - It’s what doctors call the invisible injury.

Jefferson Community College hosted athletes, coaches, trainers, and parents to talk about concussions.

“We were playing Mohawk Valley Community College,” JCC soccer goalie Shareef Stokely said. “I came out to catch a through ball or something. When I jumped into the air, I got clipped on my leg, and when I hit the floor it knocked me clean out.”

Stokely is one of thousands of athletes across the country who’ve experienced a concussion or traumatic brain injury while competing in their sport.

The Brain Injury Association of New York hosted the Concussion Outreach Prevention and Education (COPE) seminar. The hour-long event featured a panel of experts from across New York state.

More than a dozen north country athletes, along with trainers, coaches, and parents made their way to JCC Wednesday night to learn how to COPE with a concussion.

“I learned that in my case I was pretty lucky because I know a lot of people that just have a concussion that weren’t even knocked out and their recovery was longer than mine,” Stokely said.

“Hearing it from the experts,” JCC athletic trainer Jason Wheatley said, “the doctors from the concussion center down at SUNY Upstate. They really just hit home the multiple different approaches. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all.”

The trio of concussion specialists spoke with the group about creating a successful plan for how to return a concussed athlete back to the field of play safely.

“Ultimately, another tool in the bag to help diagnose and help get them back as quick as possible, but in a healthy, safe manner,” Wheatley said.

Practices implemented by the Cannoneers helped Stokely find his way back to the pitch.

“For me it was absolute zero hesitation,” he said. “It was almost like the injury didn’t even happen. I was just ready to get back out there.”