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Stuart Glassman (Physiatrist): Helped Concussed Student-Athlete Obtain Academic Accommodations

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In recognition of April as National Youth Sports Safety Month, MomsTeam has asked 30 experts to write a blog answering two questions: first, how or why did they get into their field, and second, how have they made a difference in the life of a youth athlete in the past year.

Today, we hear from Dr. Stuart Glassman, a board certified specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Physiatry) in Concord, New Hampshire.

By Stuart Glassman, MD

How I got into my field

I have been practicing medicine since 1993, and have been treating brain injuries for the past 19 years.  Much of my initial years practicing in Physiatry included treating moderate to severe brain injured patients, often from multiple trauma causes, but in recent years, much of the focus of my practice has been on treating mild traumatic brain injuries, especially youth sports concussions.Stuart Glassman

The increased media focus in recent years on sports concussions - first at the professional level, then among college, high school and middle school athletes -  along with the passage of youth sports concussion safety laws by a growing number of states, and my personal interest in the subject (I have three young children playing contact and collision sports), led me to become certified in administering baseline and post-concussion neurocognitive tests and to help develop a concussion assessment and management program at our local hospital. I have also conducted outreach in concussion awareness at area middle and high schools, and am working to advocate in favor of the passage of concussion safety legislation in our state.

How have I made a difference in an athlete's life?

While I have treated countless adolescents and teenagers who have suffered youth sports-related concussions in recent years, helping student-athletes, not only in the acute and chronic management of concussion symptoms and the return to sports aspects of their injuries, but in addressing the academic problems that many face while during recovery, one athlete in particular stands out.   She had suffered a concussion while playing field hockey. 

While her clinical symptoms of concussion cleared, which allowed her, after following the recommended graduated exercise protocol, to return to playing sports, her bigger problem was that, once a straight A student, she had seen her grades fall off to Cs, and was facing SAT/ACT exams.  Working with her school guidance program, teachers and principal, we were able to get her on an IEP (individualized education, or Section 504 plan, and to obtain permission from the College Board for accommodations on her standardized testing.

After the establishment of the Section 504 plan by the school, and academic accommodations being put in place, the student saw her grades return to pre-injury levels within 4 months, and was also able to qualify for 100% extended time on the SAT exam, which helped her to do well enough on the exam to assist with her college plans.

Stuart J. Glassman, MD is Medical Director for the Occupational Health Services program at Concord (NH) Hospital and president of Granite Physiatry, PLLC. He received his Medical Degree from the State of University of New York at Stony Brook, and completed his internship and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at New York University Medical Center.  Dr. Glassman is a Diplomat of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and a Fellow of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.