How to Manage a Sports Related Concussion

How to Manage a Sports Related Concussion

By Janet Lee, MD
Pediatric Hospitalist

What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild brain injury that causes a change in mental status that can occur with direct insult to the head. A concussion may also occur with movement of the body that cause acceleration/deceleration forces to the head.
 
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Amnesia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
When should I seek medical attention for a concussion?
  • A healthcare provider should evaluate every child or adolescent suspected of a concussion. 
  • If this occurs during a sporting event, the child should sit out the rest of the game
  • Your provider may conduct a standardized neuropsych assessment to help guide return to activities/sports
What is the best treatment for a concussion?
  • Rest, rest and more rest!
  • Absence from school may initially be necessary until one can concentrate on a task without exacerbating symptoms
  • Avoid excessive time texting, on the computer, watching television, playing video games or listening to loud music
  • Return to activity too soon can lead to worsening and prolonged symptoms.  A second injury to the brain while the brain is healing can lead to severe brain injury that is life-threatening
When can a child return to sports after a concussion?
A person with a concussion should not return to play until they no longer have symptoms at rest for at least 24 hours.  Return to play should then be a step-wise progression.  The child/adolescent should be symptom free for 24 hours before progressing to the next level of play:

  • Light aerobic exercise (e.g.: walking)
  • Sport-specific exercise
  • Non-contact training drills
  • Full contact practice
  • Return to play (Must first be cleared by a provider)
What resources are there for concussions?
Swedish’s Spine, Sports and Musculoskeletal Medicine team has developed a Sports Concussion Clinic with the following resources:
  • Baseline neurocognitive testing with a computerized exam called ImPACT can be done prior to playing a sport to assess changes and recovery if a concussion occurs.
  • Comprehensive concussion management, including clearance for return-to-play

Click here to learn more about the Sports Concussion clinic.  The team includes sports medicine physicians, psychiatrists, an athletic trainer, physical therapists and a neuropsychologist that can deliver individualized care for every athlete.

Comments
Uma Pisharody
Very timely comments, especially in light of President Obama's "White House Concussion Summit"! Thanks for the great advice!
5/29/2014 1:45:29 PM
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