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Healthy Lifestyles Online – October 17 Edition

Posted on October 25, 2017
LeConte’s Healthy Lifestyles is a health and wellness publication printed monthly in local newspapers serving Sevier County and South Knoxville. And here online! We hope you find this information healthful.

Table of Contents

“Heads Up” on Concussions
Walking to Fight Alzheimer’s
Shop Until You Drop
Advanced Technology is the Standard at LeConte’s Comprehensive Breast Center
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Julie Palmer Named Manager of LeConte’s Surgical Services

“Heads Up” on Concussions

In the second football season since enactment of Tennessee’s “return to play” law, certified athletic trainer Scott Byrd, ATC, LAT, says the legislation is helping coaches and athletic trainers better recognize concussions and protect athletes.

“As far as the return to play progression, it has helped us protect the athletes better by not returning them to play too soon,” said Byrd, coordinator of sports medicine at LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville.

Byrd, who is also president of the Tennessee Athletic Trainers Society, added that consistent education and application of the law is essential for its effectiveness. Educating coaches, parents and players about the signs and symptoms of concussion, a form of brain injury, is one of three main components of the law.

Scott Byrd, LeConte Sports Medicine Coordinator
Scott Byrd, LeConte Sports Medicine Coordinator

Byrd says the high schools served by LeConte Sports Medicine athletic trainers (Seymour, Sevier County, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg-Pittman, Northview Academy and The King’s Academy in Sevier County and Cocke County and Cosby in Cocke County) require the student athlete and parent/guardian to sign and initial a three-page document that explains the signs, symptoms and risks of concussions.

The other two provisions are immediate removal from the game once a concussion is suspected and the requirement of a medical clearance to return to competition. That clearance can come only from a physician or clinical neuropsychologist specifically trained in concussion management.

The law became effective Jan. 1, 2015, and governs all organized sports for youths 18 and younger. Its greatest effect is on football, which accounts for about half of all sports-related concussions.

Byrd said that LeConte Sports Medicine uses a sports concussion management tool to help assess and protect athletes. The test measures cognitive skills and is given to students beginning their freshman and junior years. These results serve as a baseline if a concussion occurs.

On the sidelines, medical personnel and certified athletic trainers like Byrd use a separate assessment tool for injuries that occur during a game. After an injured athlete is removed from the field, the test measures symptoms, orientation, memory, recall, balance and gait. The scores from the sideline test can then be used in addition to previous baseline assessments to determine the severity of the athlete’s injury.

Once the athlete is no longer showing signs of a concussion (dizziness, headaches, nausea or vomiting, blurred vision, light sensitivity, balance problems), the baseline test is administered once again to see whether there are any lingering effects. After being cleared by a physician, the athlete can begin a series of activities (such as a light cardio workout or light weights) over a six-day period.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, studies estimate between four and 20 percent of high school football players will sustain a brain injury over the course of one season. Once a concussion occurs, the risk of a second is three to six times higher.

Head injuries can include:

  • Scalp injury
  • Skull fracture
  • Concussion
  • Bruises of the brain
  • Tears of the brain
  • Nerve cell damage in the brain

Common causes of head injuries:

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Assaults
  • Sports-related injuries

Signs and symptoms of head injury:

Mild head injury

  • Light-headedness
  • Bleeding, bruising, or tenderness of the scalp
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability

Moderate-to-severe injury (requires immediate medical attention):

Symptoms listed above, plus:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Short-term memory loss, confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Difficulty with balance or walking

Head injury symptoms may look like other types of medical conditions – always see your healthcare provider for diagnosis and treatment.

Returning to play too soon, Byrd said, can lead to “Second Impact Syndrome,” which might include cerebral swelling, brain herniation and even death. Although rare, it is particularly devastating, as young, healthy patients can die within minutes of the second impact.

“The education component has to become more routine in order to understand and know more about the law,” said Byrd, who supports consistent goals, regulations, standards and penalties for non-compliance in applying the “return-to-play” law.

Byrd said increased reporting of concussions over the past couple of years is a good sign that the law is raising awareness.

“The proper way to treat a concussion is to take care of it when it happens,” he said. “There’s not a miracle cure for a concussion. The brain has to have time to heal and recover.”

Walking to Fight Alzheimer’s

LeConte Medical Center and Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home employees and volunteers participated in the Smoky Mountain Alzheimer’s Walk on Saturday, September 16th at Smokies Stadium.

LeConte Medical Center and Fort Sanders Sevier Nursing Home employees and volunteers participated in the Smoky Mountain Alzheimer’s Walk on Saturday, September 16th at Smokies Stadium.

Shop Until You Drop

These fundraising sales are hosted by the hospital volunteers and feature jewelry, fashion accessories, art, and gifts. Sales are held in the hospital classrooms, and convenient parking is available in Lot A.

Masquerade $5 Jewelry Sale

October 23 & 24 @ 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Robert Tino Art Sale

November 1 & 2 @ 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Holiday Bazaar and Bake Sale

November 13 @ 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Advanced Technology is the Standard at LeConte’s Comprehensive Breast Center

Advanced Technology is the Standard at LeConte’s Comprehensive Breast Center

The American College of Radiology recommends women begin routine mammograms at the age of 40, but nothing about LeConte’s state of the art Comprehensive Breast Center is “routine.” For over a year, the center has been offering 3D mammography, also known as digital breast tomosynthesis.

How is it different? Traditional 2D mammography creates a flat image, which can make it more difficult to detect some breast cancers that may hide behind healthy tissue. When 3D mammography was introduced, everything changed. Images of the breast are taken in slides which present a three-dimensional view.

“I’m glad we offer 3D mammography (tomosynthesis) to our patients,” says Emily Burdick, MD, lead interpreting physician for LeConte’s Comprehensive Breast Center. “It allows us to find small early stage breast cancers that are hidden by overlapping tissue on conventional digital mammography, and also decreases the false positive call back rate. So it’s a win-win.”

The actual procedure of having a 3D mammogram is very similar to a 2D screening. Preparation tasks such as not wearing deodorant or jewelry are the same, as is the positioning of the breast during the actual exam.

October is breast cancer awareness month. Call LeConte today at (865) 446-8000 to schedule your annual mammogram or log onto for more infor­mation.  A physician’s referral is not required for tomosynthesis.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Paint the Mountains Pink offers free mammograms to Sevier County women in financial need.

Criteria for Qualification:

  • Female, age 40 or older, resident of Sevier County (with a valid social security number)
  • No health insurance or financial means to pay for a screening mammogram
  • Have not had a screening mammogram in the last 12 months

Find the application form or donate to the cause at

If you have any questions about Paint the Mountains Pink, please call us at (865) 446-8687.

Julie Palmer Named Manager of LeConte’s Surgical Services

LeConte Medical Center welcomes Julie Palmer, BSN, RN, as the new manager of surgical services. She joined the hospital at the end of July after working her 29-year nursing career in Rockford, Illinois. Palmer is a graduate of Saint Anthony School of Nursing and Chamberlain College of Nursing.

She and her husband Dennis, along with their Labradors, Payton and Lino, relocated to East Tennessee to be closer to family.

“We had visited East Tennessee multiple times and always wanted to move here to be closer to my father-in-law,” she says. “Dennis and I thought it was a good time in our lives for a change and decided to take a chance.”

Palmer comes to LeConte surgical services with over 23 years of perioperative experience. She was a previous charge nurse, cardiac team leader and OR manager. Most recently she was the RN regional risk manager at OSF Healthcare in Rockford, where she mitigated risk for the Level 1 trauma center, physician practices, and cardiovascular and neuroscience clinics.

“When considering where to apply, I immediately knew Covenant Health was the right choice,” says Palmer. “If I was going to leave a great job, wonderful friends, and all I have ever known, I needed to be at a facility that aligned with my personal vision and beliefs. For me, Covenant Health was a calling.”

Teamwork also played heavily into her decision to come to Sevier County.

“LeConte is patient-centered. The surgeons and staff are united and work well together,” she says. “We have a number of great practices and will be working to ensure they are evidence- based.  I truly feel blessed to be part of the LeConte Medical Center family.”