Paige Havens

As concussion research continues to expand beyond athletes and sports injuries, there is growing evidence that these traumatic brain injuries are linked to a multitude of populations that experience a complete change in life trajectory as a result of undiagnosed or improperly treated injuries. Traumatic brain injury is associated with multiple, often overwhelming, challenges that can derail the person’s efforts to live a healthy, productive life.

While some people recover quickly from concussions, others are biologically predisposed to more complex symptoms and after-effects. In addition to the more common physical symptoms such as headaches, exhaustion, dizziness or problems sleeping, concussions can also trigger significant social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Some people experience subsequent difficulties with memory, attention span, personality changes, impulse control, and aggression. Think about what it must be like to try to function with those challenges coming at you and you have no control over it. Most certainly they are at much greater risk of social and economic failure.



Research now shows that people who have sustained a traumatic brain injury are at greater risk of homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, suicide, and domestic violence. Hence, greater concussion awareness and proper, comprehensive treatment impacts the health and well being of so many more people in our community than we realize. The evidence clearly proves that concussion is most certainly not just a sports-related injury.

We are blessed in Gwinnett to have Gwinnett Medical Center’s Concussion Institute that is working on the forefront of these issues and providing state-of-the-art care for so many. People are drawing from across the country to seek care at our facility. Researchers and community partners seek to collaborate with our medical team to better understand how to connect the dots, develop more effective protocols, and lessen the trajectories that are devastating people’s lives.

Most recently The Concussion Institute has formed a unique partnership with Georgia’s domestic violence shelters to offer new educational programs for shelter staff and customized treatment programs for domestic violence victims. It is believed that most have had so many hits to their head that they’ve lost count. Very few were ever treated for their head injuries. Many of them suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD, in addition to other debilitating symptoms. Helping these victims assess, cope and live with the damage done to their brains is daunting but, with the support of GMC’s Concussion Institute, we can help more of them move on more successfully with their lives. It’s programs like this and others forming that continues to show that Gwinnett Medical Center’s Concussion Institute is doing life-changing work each and every day.