Safer Sports

Safer Sports, which is part of County Executive Robert P. Astorino's ongoing Safer Communities initiative, encourages proper management of sports-related injuries. As part of the new initiative, Astorino created the Westchester County Concussion Task Force to develop a model program that will be available to high schools voluntarily to help them address the full spectrum of managing sports-related concussions. The focus of this program is on education, prevention, diagnosis and management.

Concussions among high school students pose both public health and mental health concerns. While there have been great strides in understanding concussions, developing concussion protocols, and improving safety rules and equipment, there is still room for improvement, especially with respect to post-injury management on the inter-scholastic sports level.

Safer SportsSafer Sports: A Collaborative Response For Westchester To Sports-Related Concussions
In this brochure, the Westchester County Concussion Task Force defines 10 Best Practices on ways to improve how schools can deal with concussions in interscholastic sports, especially with respect to post-injury management.
View the digital brochure.
View the brochure in pdf format.



 • An estimated 45 million children and adolescents participate in organized and recreational sports activity.

 • Approximately 85 percent of concussion patients recover quickly and fully. And most recovery takes place in the first 30 days.

 • New research indicates that children and adolescents are more prone to delayed recovery because of their developing brains.

 • In approximately 10-15 percent of cases symptoms persist, which can result in significant ongoing disability and adjustment problems. The cause of such ongoing problems, termed the persistent post-concussive syndrome, remains a subject of much debate.

 • All 50 states have concussion laws that relate to removing students from game situations. The Concussion Management and Awareness Act of NY, signed in 2012, was a great first step, but there many issues that warrant further attention.

Westchester County Concussion Task Force

The task force will work to ensure that best practices are utilized by some of the best experts in the county.

The full list of the members of the Westchester County ConcussionTask Force is as follows:

 • Mark Herceg, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Community Mental Health

 • Sherlita Amler, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Health

 • Jay Dunkle, M.D., Neuropsychologist, White Plains

 • Eric Schwabe, M.D., Vestibular Therapist, NY Sports Medicine Institute

 • Avi Mohan, M.D., Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Westchester Medical Center

 • Barbara Kapetanakes, M.D., Neuropsychologist, Sleepy Hollow

 • Jeffrey Young, M.D., private practice, Dobbs Ferry

 • Katherine Hough, M.D., Pediatrics on Hudson, Hastings-on-Hudson

 • Jonathan Berkowitz, M.D., ER Physician, Westchester Medical Center

 • Ronald Jacobson, M.D., Chief of Pediatric Neurology, Maria Fareri Children's Hospital

 • Vikki Ionnatti, M.D., Assoc. Chief of Division of General Pediatrics, NY Medical College

 • Dr. Neil Roth, Orthopedic Surgeon, New York Sports Medicine Institute

 • Dave Byrnes, President Section I Athletic Trainers Society and Yorktown H.S. Athletic Trainer

 • Michael Mirabella, VP of Section I Athletic Trainers Society and White Plains Athletic Trainer

 • Arthur McCormack, Athletic Director, Irvington High School

 • Douglas Sawyer, Athletic Trainer, The Hackley School

 • Mike O'Donnell, Athletic Director, Stepinac High School

 • James Rose, Yonkers Athletic Director and Chair of Section One Safety Committee

 • Mike Skerritt, Director of HR, Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES

 • Dave Pulley, Deputy Superintendent, SouthernWestchester BOCES

 • Kris Harrison, Superintendent, Irvington School District

 • Wayne Bass, commissioner, White Plains Recreation and Parks Department

 • Chitra D. Taneja, DPT, ATC, Physical Therapist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Hudson Valley Hospital

 • Ann Engelland, MD, District Medical Director for Harrison and Mamaroneck Schools

 • Miriam Levitt Flisser MD, Medical Director, Bronxville School District

 • Iris Pagan, Commissioner, Westchester County Youth Bureau



The goal of the Westchester County Concussion Task Force is to help Westchester schools, hospitals and clinics create a uniform system of best practices for addressing sports-related concussions.


Westchester County site that may provide additional information are:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an excelent resource for information on brain injuries. Highlighted below are just a few pages relevant to youth sports:



Mark Herceg, MD, Commissioner
Westchester County Department of Mental Health
112 E. Post Rd.
White Plains, NY 10601
Office: (914) 995-5235