FryeCare Sports Concussion Clinic
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. It may be caused by either a direct blow to the head,
face, or neck or an indirect blow elsewhere to the body which transmits an impulsive force to the head. This causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull. When a concussion occurs, an “energy crisis” begins within the brain, which results in impaired brain function and the presentation of symptoms.
According to the Journal of Athletic Training, an estimated 300 ,000 sport-related brain injuries occur annually in the United States. Sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 24 years.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of a concussion?
The signs and symptoms of a concussion may appear minutes or hours following the injury. While most concussion symptoms can be categorized into four distinct classes, each individual who has sustained a concussion will experience a unique combination of symptoms.
- Physical: Loss of consciousness, headaches, nausea, sensitivity to light, dizziness, balance problems
- Cognitive: Slowed reaction times, feeling mentally “foggy,” confusion, problems with memory or concentration
- Emotional/behavioral alterations: Irritability, heightened emotional, atypical personality changes, mood swings
- Sleep: Fatigue, drowsiness, insomnia, sleep disturbances“When in doubt, sit them out.”
What symptoms require emergency care?
Call 911 or seek care at the nearest emergency room if an individual experiences any of the following symptoms after a blow to the head:
- Headache that worsens significantly
- Prolonged loss of consciousness (greater than 30 seconds)
- Significant midline neck pain, associated with any weakness or numbness of arms or legs
- Slurred speech
- Repeated vomiting
- Marked increase in irritability, confusion, or unusual behavior
- Drowsy or can not be awakened or aroused
Traditional tests that look at the brain, such as a MRI or CT Scan, will not show evidence of a concussion. While these advanced imaging techniques are utilized at times to further evaluate the structures of the brain or skull when appropriate, proper concussion diagnosis can be achieved by using a combination of non-invasive tests. Visits to our clinic include a detailed physical exam, vision and balance assessments and neurocognitive evaluation through Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT®). The ImPACT test is a 20-minute, internet-based, computerized test. It tracks objective information such as memory, reaction time, and concentration. If an athlete is believed to have suffered a head injury during practice or competition, ImPACT is a tool that can be used by a trained healthcare professional to evaluate the severity of the injury and help direct the athlete’s recovery.
Most individuals recover from a concussion quickly and completely if properly managed, while others may take several weeks or longer. Initially, the best care following a concussion is physical and cognitive rest. Following a comprehensive evaluation, a detailed plan can then be created to effectively and appropriately return an athlete to school, and eventually safely return to sports. Its important to remember that concussions are treatable. One of the best ways to help recover is to learn more about what to expect in the days following the concussion and how to best manage symptoms.
Concussion Care Team Physicians
Payton Fennell, DO, Sports Medicine Joshua Brown, MD, Physical Medicine
Concussion Care Team
Our team of physicians and certified athletic trainers work with an interdisciplinary team of specialists to manage concussions.
- Occupational therapists
- Vestibular therapists
- Physical therapists
Evidence-based medicine is utilized to assess the severity and progress of injuries and a specific treatment plan is provided for each patient using a variety of clinical tools.
Frye Regional’s concussion care team uses ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test), the most widely used and most scientifically-validated computerized concussion management tool available to improve patient outcomes. For more information, visit www.impacttest.com.