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Helping Those Suffering Concussions

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

"Impact: Keeping Young Players Safe" is Dorrett Johnson's Second Book on Recognizing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

By Michael Heath /

Dorrett Johnson
Dorrett Johnson

The term “mild traumatic brain injury” is commonly known as a concussion, a word finding increased use over the last decade. In 2015, the movie Concussion, starring Will Smith, was released based on the GQ expose article “Game Brain” about the work of forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu. Omalu’s discoveries and publications on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players were pivotal. He found that repeated blows to the heads of these athletes had long-term consequences, including short-term memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment and dementia. The findings led to the National Football League pledging of one hundred million dollars for further studies, and requiring sideline protocols to protect players.

Combat Veterans Experience Head Injuries

Dorrett Johnson, a registered nurse (RN) with thirty years’ experience and a retired US Army captain, also holds the Veterans Administration (VA) title of Polytrauma/Traumatic Brain Injury Caregiver. When the Iraqi War started, Johnson saw an influx of mild traumatic brain injury cases showing up at the VA hospital, while frontline practitioner staff were under-prepared to recognize symptoms or know how to initiate treatment. She wrote and published a book titled Nursing Care for the Adult Patient of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. The pocketbook’s purpose was an easy reference for clinical staff to use when interacting with patients who may have suffered concussions.

Concussions on the Children’s Ball Fields

Johnson saw a similar need in the youthful athletic arena, and answered with her latest book Impact: Keeping Young Players Safe. She knew that coaches, trainers, parents, school management and even child athletes needed to be better informed on the signs and dangers of concussions. Years ago (and sometimes today) there was the mentality that kids who experienced a hard sports collision could simply “walk it off.” Child and teenage athletes suffering concussions were put back in games only to be exposed to second impacts and worsened injury. Present-day leaders are certainly more aware of mild traumatic brain injury, but such awareness is not enough.

Johnson lays out the signs of a possible concussion and what sideline protocols should be in place to recognize mild traumatic brain injury, including mini mental tests to detect a concussion. She also addresses the use of proper headgear to prevent injury, even in sports not traditionally associated with helmets or related protective equipment, e.g., soccer.

An interesting aspect of the book is Johnson’s conveying the need for all to work as a team to prevent mild traumatic brain injury. She knows the tendency of some coaches to avoid coddling players or wanting to keep their best athletes in a game. Parents may want their kids playing and not sitting out. Even teammates may be hesitant to report their suspicions about a star player’s injury since it may jeopardize a win. Johnson writes in an elementary and non-didactic way so that her message is easily understood by both youngsters and adults.

Contact Sports Played the Right Way

The author has nieces and nephews playing contact sports, and supports such activities. She believes communities and schools should keep sports like football and soccer, provided the correct procedures are followed. Impact: Keeping Young Players Safe should be a required read for all participating in team sports as a step toward head injury prevention.

Impact: Keeping Young Players Safe is available in paperback on

Nursing Care for the Adult Patient of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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