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Invisible injuries: Wellesley High School senior organizes forum on concussions

Posted by Evan Allen  January 30, 2013 01:16 PM

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After Ian Ettinger suffered a concussion playing basketball for Wellesley High School his freshman year, he found himself suffering constant headaches and unable to read. He couldn’t go to school for two months; he had to drop two classes. He got depressed because he was tired of missing school and his classmates.

Now a senior, Ettinger is working to raise awareness of concussions and their effects on students. On Feb. 5, he will hold a forum at the high school on concussions, showing a short film he made with the technical help of fellow senior Chris Coddington of interviews with his friends who have also suffered concussions.

“It’s such an invisible injury,” he said. “You don’t see a broken leg in a cast, so you don’t know the person’s injured.”

Ettinger, 17, has no more physical symptoms of his injury. But the consequences linger: he was absent so much that he missed the fundamentals of his Spanish language classes. The students he interviewed, he said, had similar experiences: after their concussions, completing schoolwork was difficult, and not all their teachers were willing to work with them.

“Some teachers would be more accommodating than others,” said Ettinger. “Others were quite unforgiving, and didn’t really understand what was going on.”

At the forum, leading neurologist and concussion specialist Dr. Stuart Glassman will discuss the most current information on concussions, according to a release that Ettinger wrote about the event. Dr. Neal McGrath, a neuropsychologist and developer of IMPACT testing, will talk about accommodations that students with concussions need.

The forum will be held on Feb. 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Admission is free. Anyone with questions or comments should contact Ettinger at ilettinger@gmail.com.

Evan Allen can be reached at evan.allen@globe.com

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