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Druley: Concussion chat on tap in Geneva

Recent concussion legislation brought forth new awareness to head injuries.

In Geneva athletic trainer Bill Durand’s view, it also produced some gray areas.

Durand and a panel of health professionals hope to fix any misconceptions during a free presentation at 7 p.m. Aug. 12 at the Geneva auditorium.

Catering their remarks toward parents, the group also welcomes students as it dissects the concussion process from diagnosis to the athlete’s return to competition.

“We want to make sure that the students can come and listen and learn, as well,” Durand said. “As we all know, athletes in general think all things are bulletproof sometimes. ‘Oh, it’s not going to happen to me.’ ”

The event will be held in conjunction with ATI Physical Therapy, Fox Valley Orthopedics and Cadence Physician Group.

Dr. Brian Babka – a sports medicine specialist with Cadence who analyzes Geneva athletes’ concussions – will be on hand along with Dr. Eric Bartel of the Fox Valley group.

If there’s a prerequisite for attending, it’s this: knowing sports concussions can arise at any time, in any activity.

“Concussions are not just a football thing,” Durand said. “Concussions are something that can happen in pretty much every sport out there right now. I’ve never seen one in golf and I’ve never seen one in bowling, but you never know.”

Durand, who has worked at Geneva for more than a decade, has observed separate schools of thought toward head injuries – one that tends to be overly sensitive in diagnosis, and one that doesn’t.

It’s important for any athlete who might have just had his or her “bell rung” to undergo appropriate testing and for all involved – parents, coaches and athletes – to be patient with the process.

“This is an opportunity to educate not just the athlete, but the parent on what a concussion is,” Durand said. “Because there’s so many misconceptions and misinformation about concussions, we wanted to get as much information as possible out there.”

Augie invasion: Several football players with Chronicle-area ties were on the field Saturday when Augustana College’s navy blue and gold ran past the bleu, blanc et rouge of the French national team, 20-13, in an exhibition in Lille, France.

The game included an interception from senior linebacker Dylan Smith, an Aurora Christian product, to set up one of three rushing touchdowns from Vikings quarterback Sam Frasco.

Augustana, which is 4-1 in overseas exhibitions since 1999, played its latest installment via a group called Global Football, which also organized a week-long French cultural visit for Vikings players.

Augustana’s 2012 roster included the following players with area ties: Jacob Benner (LB, Batavia); Ben Fornek (DB, Batavia); Eric Dratnol (OL, Kaneland); Ben Hodges (RB, St. Charles North); Shane Holl (DE, Batavia); Austin Lewis (LB, Batavia); Tim Maroder (WR, Burlington Central); Joe Weber (LB, Marmion) and Evan Zeddies (WR, Batavia).

Holl and Weber were seniors last season.

• Kevin Druley is a sportswriter for the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5347 or Follow him on Twitter at @kevindruley.

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