HICKORY, N.C. -- Young athletes and their parents celebrated the grand opening of Hickory's first-of-its-kind concussion clinic on Wednesday.
The FryeCare Sports Concussion Clinic, affiliated with Frye Regional Medical Center, is run by Dr. Payton Fennell. Dr. Fennell's aim is to serve families throughout the Foothills.
"When it comes to the more suburban, rural communities, you don't see [a clinic] of this magnitude," Dr. Fennell said.
Dr. Fennell estimated every year, roughly 30 student athletes from Catawba County high schools suffered concussions.
"Just like any other injury, although you may not be able to see it like an ankle injury, they are treatable," he said.
Dr. Fennell uses a team approach to diagnose concussions as he consults with the student athlete's athletic trainers, coaches and their parents.
"[Parents] can evaluate on a level that states, 'This isn't my child; there's something wrong with him,'" Dr. Fennell said.
Dr. Fennell became interested in concussions when he served in the Navy and worked with the Marines returning from Iraq with brain injuries sustained in the battlefield.
"It just seemed like a field that was finally starting to get recognition, but it hadn't come to its full potential yet," Dr. Fennell said.
For more information on concussions, click here.
For more on the Sports Concussion Clinic, click here.