Concussion Risk in Stunt Performers
Dr. Jeff Russell, associate professor of athletic training within the College of Health Sciences and Professions at Ohio University, is shining a light on a segment of concussion patients who often go unnoticed in comparison to athletes: performing artists.
Russell’s new paper highlights the risk of concussion for dance, circus, theater and film and television stunt performers, along with guidelines for treatment. It is the first-time concussion risk for film and television stunt performers that is being highlighted in scientific literature.
“When you stop and think about how influential a field is, pretty much everybody in the world watches movies and television. This type of medium is an art form with a huge influence, but people don’t know what goes on behind the scenes to make it look so cool on television or on the movie screen,” Russell said. “That’s where my role as a healthcare worker in performing arts comes into play. I understand what artists go through — I look at what they do with different eyes, and I look at it in terms of risk and what potential injuries could happen or what might be an unsafe condition.”
The article was released by Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America on Oct. 29, 2020. The key findings include that dance and performing arts are highly physical activities and performers could experience a head impact from many sources, yet the scientific literature devoted to concussions in performing arts is very low in comparison to that in sports.
Russell noted that this may be due to the fact that, while everyone watches sports and can see injuries occur, injuries to stunt actors and performing artists often occur behind the scenes and away from the public view…
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