Education

Making an Impact, One Student Athlete at a Time

Couple launches concussion organization to help families after their son suffered one.


It's hard to think of anything good coming out of a boy getting a severe and debilitating concussion, but that's what happened to the Berton family of South Strabane Township, PA. After Tom and Pattiann Berton's Patrick got a concussion playing football eight years ago, they founded a non-profit to keep other families from going through what they suffered.

Re-wind to 2011. Patrick Berton was 12, and playing youth football when he suffered a concussion. As the Washington Observer-Reporter reports, at first doctors missed it. It wasn't until Patrick suffered excruciating headaches, blindness and severe loss of balance that doctors diagnosed his concussion.

The Bertons would like to see uniform protocols for recognizing concussions on the playing field, for treatment and for returning to play.

The family's struggle to find a diagnosis and deal with the aftermath led the Bertons to start Answers 4 Patrick Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raised awareness about life-altering medical conditions. Now they've launched IMPACTED Inc., which works to make sports safer for kids by educating athletes, families and coaches, providing safety equipment, and lobbying for new safety rules.

Kids are going to play sports anyway, so our mission is prevention. -- Barb Cyprowski, IMPACTED Board Member

As part of their awareness campaign, IMPACTED recently held a public service announcement video contest. The Washington School District won, and as a prize, the football team received 65 NFL Xenith helmets, designed to reduce head impact severity. The team also got Vane mouth guards, which are designed to glow red when bite sensors on the guards detect a serious blow to the head. Click here to watch the winning video.

IMPACTED presents the award for the best Public Service Announcement. That's Pattiann and Tom in the center. IMPACTED web page

The Berton's mission and the mission of IMPACTED is to make it easier to detect concussions so that student-athletes receive treatment as quickly as possible. Even though Patrick's treatment was delayed, after intense therapy, he's now in college and studying abroad this semester.

For more information about concussions and IMPACTED Inc., visit their website.

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