Evidenced Based Care for First Responders

A Concusion Health Summit Lecture Series | Audio Lecture 20: Mechanisms of concussion and MTBI in law enforcement, EMS and fire and rescue.


In spite of well publicized programs for concussion management in youth, high school, university and professional settings, no evidence based concussion education / management program in Public Safety.

The leading causes of traumatic brain injury in law enforcement are falls, vehicle accidents, being struck, and assaults. The leading causes of traumatic brain injury in fire and EMS are falls, ground and through floors, struck by objects, hit head on objects including ambulance roof, truck doors, hit by charged hose, assaulted.

Evidenced Based Care for First Responders audio lecture focuses on the development a comprehensive educational and management program of concussion and MTBI for public safety employees.


Upon completion of this course, the participant will be able to:

  • Explain the mechanisms of concussion and MTBI in law enforcement, EMS and fire and rescue
  • Describe “warrior” and “team/squad bonding” responses leading to downplaying or not reporting the symptoms of concussion
  • List specific symptoms of concussion and resulting barriers to full duty work for public safety (driving, carrying weapon, decision making, etc.)
  • Create educational materials for employees
  • Develop a comprehensive educational and management program of concussion and MTBI for public safety employees
  • Generate list of medical specialists for concussion support within the worker’s compensation panel of physicians
  • Communicate the importance of evidence based concussion management program to commanders and human resource administrators

Continuing Education Credits

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Nancy Burke, MS, LAT, ATC
Nancy Burke, MS, LAT, ATC

Treating sprained ankles, separated shoulders, and aching backs are everyday occurrences for Fairfax County Police Department’s athletic trainer Nancy Burke. Burke serves a vital role for the agency in keeping over 1,300 Fairfax County Police officers in top form despite the tough physical toll the job can have on one’s body.

“Obviously physical fitness is critical for those in public safety; whether they are chasing a suspect in the dark or helping lift a person out of a wrecked car, it is a very physically demanding job,” Burke said. She added, “It’s extremely rewarding to be able to help treat and educate officers on how to get healthy, stay healthy, and get them back to duty after they’ve had an injury.”

Burke’s efforts are now being widely recognized as she has been tapped for the 2013 Virginia Athletic Trainers’ Association (VATA) Hall of Fame. She will be inducted at the association’s annual meeting and symposium in Richmond on Saturday, January 12. The VATA is an organization dedicated to the health and well-being of Virginians who are physically active and this is the third year for the Hall of Fame selection process.

Burke began her career as an athletic trainer in a secondary school setting after graduating from James Madison University in 1973. After earning her Master’s Degree from Eastern Kentucky University, she continued her career in Fairfax County. Her expertise in sports medicine is nationally known as she served as the Head Athletic Trainer for World Cup Sabre Fencing in 1992 and 1994, a Site Medical Director for the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, and chaired the U.S. Lacrosse Association Safety Committee, where her contributions helped result in the mandate of protective eyewear and new safety standards for goalkeepers’ helmets.

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