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How to Manage a Sports Related Concussion

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

Swedish Sports Concussion Clinic

The Sports Concussion Clinic at Swedish Spine, Sports & Musculoskeletal Medicine was developed to provide comprehensive concussion management and help guide return-to-play decisions for children and adults. We are a team of sports medicine physicians, physiatrists, physical therapists, and a neuropsychologist that deliver individual care for athletes. We provide physical evaluation, assessment of concussion severity, neuropsychological evaluation, ongoing monitoring and education for athletes, parents, coaches and school staff. We use clinical guidelines to implement the most appropriate treatment for return-to-play and return-to-school. Click here to learn more or to make an appointment.

Sports Concussion Clinic and Community Education

This past Wednesday, July 31, Dr. Renee Low and I provided a class on sports concussion education to Issaquah youth athletes, their parents, soccer club coaches and trainers.  We hosted about 47 attendees and discussed signs and symptoms of a concussion, risk factors and prevention, when to seek medical attention, and baseline testing. (Click here for a PDF that explains concussions and some of the symptoms.)

We also discussed Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) now being offered at Swedish.  Swedish Spine, Sports, and Musculoskeletal Medicine is now offering a sports concussion clinic for youth and adult athletes.  We provide assessment of concussion severity, physical evaluation, ongoing monitoring, neuropsychological evaluation, education, return to play, and academic support.

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