Let’s Move QC: ORA Team Physicians Help Identify Concussions

Football season is in full force, but with every hit comes some hurt and that's where Dr. Peter Rink with ORA Orthopedics comes into play.

"My training is with orthopedics," he explained. "However, as Team Physician, we take care of everything we need to."

Dr. Rink works with student athletes at Davenport Central High School. While his specialty is in knees, hips, and shoulders - he said he also keeps a close eye on the head.

"When someone has a concussion injury, it’s not unusual for us to see the hit on the field," he explained. "Helmet hits tend to be noisy. They tend to happen in the middle of the play so we’re already watching there."

According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 200,000 people in the U.S. suffer concussions while playing sports every year.

However, treating them is changing.

"Probably the main thing we’re doing better is identifying the concussed individual," said Dr. Rink. "Then, the next thing we’re doing better is making sure they don’t go back onto the field until they’re normal."

"In years past, that was always a little bit of a problem," he added. "We weren’t as stringent. If somebody got their bell rung, those were small concussion injuries and if they got their bell rung and in a few minutes they were pretty normal we might let them go back in and play the second half. We don’t do that now. If somebody is hurt in the head then they’re out."

Sometimes, they're out for a couple days. Other times, it's a couple of weeks. Just like a bone, it's whatever it takes for the brain to heal so they can get back to the game and moving once again.

"Football is a great sport," said Dr. Rink. "The negative is the part of my job where people get hurt."

Dr. Rink is one of 12 ORA Team Physicians for QCA high schools, universities, and professional teams.

In addition, the Davenport School District is taking charge on testing for concussions before they even happen. To find out how, click here.