Concussions Among Student Athletes Are on The Rise

Meet the Dignity Health Foundation East Valley Sports Medicine Program 

A recent survey conducted by Barrow Neurological Institute shows one in five Arizona high school athletes reports sustaining a sport-related concussion. The same survey showed that only three in 10 parents say schools and sports teams have done enough to prevent them. Concussion awareness appears to be driving a decline in organized-sport participation, specifically in football. More parents are restricting their student-athletes from participating and athletes themselves are declining to play. Orthopedic issues are another concern: children’s bones and tendons are still growing, increasing their likelihood of sustaining injuries. 

Sports Medicine Brad

The Dignity Health Foundation East Valley Sports Medicine Program is offered in 13 high schools and seven junior highs in the Gilbert, Chandler and Queen Creek school districts. We proudly provide Division I collegiate athletics level of care, with oversight provided by Dignity Health and the school districts’ athletic departments. Clinical oversight is provided by OrthoArizona board-certified orthopedic surgeons, while the initial point of care is led by athletic trainers on the field, court and their training facilities. These trainers are employed by Dignity Health and sponsored by OrthoArizona, Arizona Spine and Joint Hospital, and United Surgical Partners, Inc. (USPI}. 

Barrow Neurological Institute offers their expertise in the areas of concussions and traumatic brain injuries. In particular Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Kareem Shaarawy, both experts in the field, have been instrumental in developing the program and will continue to guide its expansion. Our partnership with Barrow Brain & Spine also offers us unlimited access to expertise in concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

In conjunction with our prestigious partners, Dignity Health Foundation administers a comprehensive, community-based sports medicine program focusing on athletic training, sports injury care management, sport performance, nutrition, injury care, heat-related issues and of course, concussion management. As a mission-driven organization, our program stresses a commitment to high-quality care, education and sustainability within the communities we serve.

In the previous academic year, athletic trainers provided:

  • Community cost-savings of over $535,000 in injury/illness care
  • Treatment to nearly 3,000 injuries, including 290 concussions
    • Concussed athletes treated by medical providers in our program typically safely return to play within 11 days, from their initial injuryo
    • Non-concussive, injured athletes who are treated by medical providers in our program, typically have a safe, same day return to play recovery from their initial injury 
  • Over 27,000 treatments, including over 3,700 injury evaluations by an allied healthcare professional (our athletic trainers on-site)
  • Our athletic trainers have referred over 260 injuriesto our collaborative network, including our urgent care facilities and emergency centers, and team physician orthopedic officeso
    • Typically, our patients are being seen by a specialty physician within 24 hours of being referred by an athletic trainer

For more information please contact us 



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