Dr. Craig Panos

U.S. Ski Team physician and a sports and concussion medicine specialist at Kootenai Health

Why is it hard to get people to buy into concussion treatment?

Part of the stigma is you’ve got coaches saying, “I played through my concussion, and I’m fine.” And you’re like, “Really? Did you always slur? You can’t even remember to bring the footballs to practice, and you’re telling me you’re good?” You run into that… If you don’t spend that time explaining why we’re doing what we’re doing, the way the brain functions, it’s easy to kind of write it off… Here’s the deal: When you are a kid, it is completely opposite of your nature to sit around, play no video games, watch very little TV, no texting, little computer time, basically go to bed at 8 o’clock. We’ve got to them to buy into what they need to do and why.

I feel like I did everything wrong when my son had a concussion.

That’s okay. I tell parents this first visit’s gonna be an hour and a half, but when you come out I want you to be a resource for the next parent who says, “Hey, my kid got hit. What should I do?” 

What about sports other than football?

Women’s soccer is the second busiest group for me. There is no group worse than the soccer mom. Don’t dare tell a soccer mom her daughter isn’t going to play freshman soccer on Saturday, ’cause you got somethin’ comin’… I tell them, “I’m sorry the schools charge me with keeping your kids safe.” 

What are people with concussions supposed to do? 

They’re supposed to rest their brains. Don’t exercise your brain. What does your brain do? It thinks, and it has emotions. Those are the two things we’re trying to rest. Don’t go watch Brian’s Song. And you want to get good sleep.

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