Project Brain Safe: Collaborating on Concussions

CentraCare Health’s Dr. Kelly Collins grew up in an active, athletic family in Sartell. Remarkably, her four brothers all went on to play professional sports in the NHL and NFL. However, three of them had their dreams of going from small town Minnesota to the big leagues cut short by injuries, including concussions. And it was here where Dr. Collins’ work as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist became very personal.

It was hard to see her seemingly invincible brothers experience struggles associated with concussions. Yet as an expert in neurological rehabilitation, which studies how the brain heals, Dr. Collins felt fortunate to be able to do something about it. In addition to helping her brothers, she channeled her energy toward helping others through her involvement in Project Brain Safe, a community collaboration that brings together medical experts, academic institutions and community partners to improve the standard of care for concussions.

Project Brain Safe is supported by CentraCare, and dozens of staff give their time and talents to raise awareness and educate people about concussions. “Fortunately, more people are aware of the seriousness of concussions today – especially in sports,” says Dr. Collins. Project Brain Safe partners with schools to conduct baseline cognitive testing for student athletes, which can be used to diagnose and treat concussions.

But athletes aren’t the only people susceptible to brain injuries. The elderly population, which is at a greater risk for falls, actually makes up the largest number of patients treated by Dr. Collins. “Our commitment is to provide treatment and resources so that everyone can reach their best potential, from babies to elders,” says Dr. Collins.

Dr. Collins is proud of CentraCare’s involvement in Project Brain Safe. “It’s inspiring to see so many community resources come together to address this important need. I’m so thankful to CentraCare’s leaders for supporting this work and to the Project Brain Safe team whose commitment is like nothing I’ve seen before. Together, we’re improving lives every day.”

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