With the goal of educating the public about the dangers of sports-related concussion and the debilitating migraine attacks that often result, Daniel Newman of Katonah, New York has won first place in Nikon Inc.’s “I Am Next” contest, with a dramatic photo of his brother Eric, who has experienced the after-effects of sports-related concussions. The competition sought the next voice of Nikon’s “I Am Generation Image” campaign, which aims to empower consumers to create stories that stand out through amazing images. Daniel’s entry rose to the top of more than 14,000 contest submissions.
“Migraine-like symptoms are some of the most disabling and persistent complications of concussion,” said David W. Dodick, MD, FRCP, chair of the American Migraine Foundation, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and an internationally renowned concussion expert. “We applaud Daniel for his creative and insightful work, and for his desire to raise awareness of concussion and migraine and the risks that head injuries pose, especially to the developing brains of young people. More must be done to protect young athletes from the devastating and potentially life-altering effects of concussions. Daniel’s work illustrates this quite dramatically. We hope the visibility given his winning photo stimulates a conversation and an understanding of the potential long-term effects of concussion and the strategies necessary to protect those involved in youth athletics.”
Daniel’s prize-winning photo shows a physician demonstrating a procedure used to treat Daniel’s brother, Eric, for his post-concussion symptoms. While other symptoms resolved themselves a year and a half after his concussion, following a hospital stay and intensive treatments, Eric’s head trauma left him with migraine headaches.
In an essay accompanying this dramatic image, Daniel states that: “The real issue is not my brother’s specific injury, but the culture within the sports world that minimizes the importance of concussions. If his previous concussions were taken more seriously and coaches did not push him to continue playing his symptoms would never have been so severe.”
Research shows that premature return-to-play decisions in high school and college sports can pose serious, even fatal neurological consequences. After a concussion, the risk of both early (within the first 10 days) and late repeated concussions increases significantly. Repeated concussions may increase the risk of long-term disabling and persistent symptoms as well as cognitive impairment.
“Disabling headache is the most common symptom of concussion, and in more than 20% of athletes, may persist for months or years,” says Dr. Dodick. “This may result in other symptoms such as sleep and memory disturbances as well as mood changes, and render the student athlete not only unable to return to play, but perhaps more important, limit his or her ability to return to learning and realizing his full potential.”
Although many are not so fortunate, following treatment Eric was able to continue on his career trajectory and is now in medical school.
The American Migraine Foundation recently redesigned its website, www.AmericanMigraineFoundation.org, to include a range of resources and educational materials for people with migraine and their families. Among the site’s features is a section on concussion in youth sports. New content is added regularly to the site.
“I hope this contest allows me the opportunity to educate the public about the disabling nature of concussions and migraine,” Daniel says.
The I Am Next Contest was created as part of Nikon’s “I Am Generation Image” campaign, which aims to amplify the voices of individuals through the images they capture, so that their stories can stand out. Daniel’s photo is a great example of a story that needs to be heard; he won first place after the field of 14,000+ entries was narrowed down to three finalists. The online community then voted on who should receive the top prize.
On his Twitter feed, Daniel posted: “Thanks to YOUR help, @NikonUSA has declared me the voice of Generation Image! My push to raise #concussionawareness is not over.