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Stories that teach

9:00 AM  Jan 19th, 2017
by Shannon Shelton Miller

Less than a week after I heard associate professor Susan Davies speak to educators about traumatic brain injuries in children, teachers from my 1-year-old son’s child care center called me at my office.

Kyle had fallen while toddling across the mobile infant playground and hit his head on concrete. He seemed fine, they said, but they were calling as part of their automatic notification process following such injuries.

They called again 10 minutes later. Emergency medical technicians were on the way and a parent needed to come immediately. Kyle now seemed “lethargic” and appeared sleepy, potential signs of a loss of consciousness.

I panicked. Then I started thinking of what I learned from Davies’ books and training session about concussion recognition response, preparing to put her tips into action to help our son heal. (See story.)

As an editor in the Division of University Marketing and Communications, I have the opportunity to meet thoughtful, intelligent faculty like Davies who recognize and identify issues they see in their fields of work and take action. It’s research for the common good, information shared that helps everyday citizens
advocate for themselves and others.

I was reminded of this when, one year after its original publication in the University of Dayton Magazine, a reader thanked us for publishing an article on the importance of physical therapy for breast cancer survivors.

“Last year, shortly after I had surgery for Stage II breast cancer, I had terrible cording and elbow pain after surgery,” she wrote. “Not a single MD taking care of me mentioned this risk at all. Your article helped me figure out that I needed to seek a lymphedema specialist. Thank you.”

The writer’s son, a UD grad, had sent her the Autumn 2015 article featuring associate professor of physical therapy Mary Fisher and her work helping breast cancer survivors manage elbow and shoulder pain common after surgery. By sharing our faculty’s research in these pages, we not only showcase the high-level work taking place at the University, we present their practical, real-world solutions to a broader audience outside the lab or classroom.

That includes the letter writer, who’s getting the treatment she needs for her post-cancer condition. And me, who knew what to do when my son got hurt that day in late October.

The doctors at Dayton Children’s Hospital checked Kyle for signs of concussion and cleared him with little more than a nasty bruise on his forehead — no need to assemble a concussion team at his child care center. But I took comfort in knowing that if I did, I have access to the best minds working to solve such challenges. And you do, too.

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