Concussion is one of the most common injuries sustained by athletes, most frequently by those involved in high impact sports, however others are not immune. Symptoms can include confusion, disorientation, amnesia, visual changes, headache, dizziness. When someone sustains a concussion, it can occur WITHOUT LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Furthermore, a direct trauma to the head is not required.
School personnel who are responsible for athletes have the difficult challenge of recognizing when an athlete sustains a concussion. In competitive sports, with multiple responsibilities, the intensity, and excitement of competition, it may be difficult to determine whether or not an athlete has sustained a concussion and therefore a high degree of suspicion is required in order to make the diagnosis. We also know that athletes will not necessarily volunteer information regarding concussions. The general "culture" of competitive athletics encourages athletes to "play through" injuries that seem like they are not that significant or severe.
All athletes should be properly evaluated after concussion. A concussion is a brain injury and may have potentially serious long term implications if not properly managed. High school athletes in particular are more vulnerable to the effects of concussion if it is not recognized and they sustain a second concussion prior to the healing process being completed. Young athletes less than 18 years old who return to competition too early prior to the resolution of symptoms have increased risk for Second Impact Syndrome. A condition that results in a catastrophic increase in intracranial pressure, brain swelling, and sometimes death.
We know that proper evaluation and management of concussion is the best way to prevent long-term consequences.
* Comprehensive Assessment by a Physiatrist (physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation) with extensive experience in managing individuals with brain injury
* Neurological Examination
* Balance and Visual Assessment
* ImPACT Neuro-cognitive Testing
* Medication and Rehabilitative Therapy
* Recommendations for academic accommodations
* Individualized plan for progressive return to activity/play
The focus of the Sports Concussion Program is to educate and assist athletes, parents, coaches and other school personnel in the proper identification, testing and management of concussions. As the athlete is healing from his/her brain injury, a gradual progressive return to activity/exercise should be followed prior to resumption of full contact participation. We do not recommend that athletes return to play while they are "still recovering" from a concussion, and that clinicians experienced in the assessment of brain injury be involved in the process of returning athletes to competition, academics and work after they have sustained concussions.
For information about the Sports Concussion Management Program, or to schedule an appointment, please contact 518-382-4560.