WHITE PLAINS, NY - Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced that he has created the Westchester County Concussion Task Force in an effort to develop a model program that will be available to high schools voluntarily to help them address the full spectrum of managing sports-related concussions. Astorino’s latest initiative “Safer Sports” is part of his ongoing “Safer Communities” campaign, which has previously addressed heroin overdoses, youth mental health, emergency response protocols in schools and campus sexual assault.
Astorino said that concussions among high school students pose both a public health and mental health concern. “While there have been great strides in understanding concussions, developing concussion protocols and improving safety rules and equipment, there is still room for improvement, especially with respect to post-injury management on the inter-scholastic sports level,” Astorino said.
Dr. Mark Herceg, commissioner of Community Mental Health, who is an expert on concussions, is leading the effort, which includes professionals in medicine and high school sports.
“The task force will work to ensure that best practices are utilized by the best experts in the county,” Herceg said. “We owe that to our children who play sports.”
Astorino said one important goal was to develop a consensus statement on what a model concussion program should look like by August 20, 2015, the same day Astorino and the task force will be sponsoring a major concussion conference at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. Several prominent speakers from across the country are already confirmed.
The conference is open to the public at no charge, and parents, coaches and teachers are encouraged to attend. The conference begins at 5:30 p.m. and refreshments will be served. Those interested should RSVP to Deetra Santos at [email protected] or (914) 995-5245.
A full list of the members of the Westchester County Concussion Task Force is as follows:
Mark Herceg, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Community Mental Health
Sherlita Amler, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Health
Jay Dunkle, M.D., Neuropsychologist, White Plains
Eric Schwabe, M.D., Vestibular Therapist, NY Sports Medicine Institute
Avi Mohan, M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Westchester Medical Center
Barbara Kapetanakes, M.D., Neuropsychologist, Sleepy Hollow
Jeffrey Young, M.D., private practice, Dobbs Ferry
Katherine Hough, M.D., Pediatrics on Hudson, Hastings-on-Hudson
Jonathan Berkowitz, M.D., ER Physician, Westchester Medical Center
Ronald Jacobson, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Neurology, Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital
Vikki Ionnatti, M.D., Assoc. Chief of Division of General Pediatrics, NY Medical College
Dr. Neil Roth, Orthopedic Surgeon, New York Sports Medicine Institute
Dave Byrnes, President Section I Athletic Trainers Society and Yorktown H.S. Athletic Trainer
Michael Mirabella, VP of Section I Athletic Trainers Society and White Plains Athletic Trainer
Arthur McCormack, Athletic Director, Irvington High School
Douglas Sawyer, Athletic Trainer, The Hackley School
Mike O’Donnell, Athletic Director, Stepinac High School
James Rose, Yonkers Athletic Director and Chair of Section One Safety Committee
Mike Skerritt, Director of HR, Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES
Dave Pulley, Deputy Superintendent, SouthernWestchester BOCES
Kris Harrison, Superintendent, Irvington School District