On Sept. 12, Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center will present the first event in the new ValleyCare Speaker Series, “The Cutting Edge Management of Concussion,” with Dr. Paulomi Kadakia Bhalla and Shelby McGinnis, MPT.

Bhalla, a neurologist, and McGinnis, a physical therapist, will discuss what has been learned from decades of research into concussions, and what the current thinking is on the best approach to diagnosis, pathophysiology and management.

Awareness of the potential severity and lasting consequences of concussions has been growing over the past several decades. Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries sustained when a blow or blunt force disrupts the brain’s normal function. While people readily associate concussions with obvious trauma, such as a major car or bicycle accident, concussions can occur in what appears to be just a simple fall or a minor collision on the playing field. Many such concussions go undiagnosed or are ignored when the individual is able to get up and function, but any injury to the brain can have long-lasting impact.

“Concussions are regularly underappreciated or missed in the senior population, despite the fact that nearly one million seniors suffer a concussion after a fall each year,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ketchersid, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University and Hospitalist at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare. “Their immediate care needs, such as broken bones, or their other present medical issues may distract from the assessment and treatment of concussion.”

On the playing field, young athletes may not be aware they have suffered a concussion and it is up to the people around them — coaches, parents and fellow teammates — to know what the signs might be. The long-term consequences of a severe concussion are so significant a new California law mandates assessment and clearance rules for athletes injured during play.

The next event in the ValleyCare Speaker Series will be on January 9, when Dr. Marion Buckwalter will discuss “The Aftermath of Stroke: Improving What Goes Right and Preventing What Goes Wrong.” Drawing on her decades of experience as an ICU neurologist at Stanford, caring for stroke patients and serving as a co-investigator on over 50 clinical stroke studies, Buckwalter will discuss the latest research on neuroinflammation and stroke recovery.

On May 7, Dr. Jake Scott will focus on the alarming increase in the number of antibiotic-resistant organisms causing infection, and what doctors, patients, and society can do to stem the rising tide of these superbugs. The Co-Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare will also discuss common misconceptions and issues related to vaccines and infectious diseases.

All talks begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Bankhead Theater, 2400 First Street, Livermore. Tickets are $30. For free student tickets, contact the box office at 925-373-6800.