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Concussions can occur in any sport or physical activity. As children and athletes of all ages are playing longer and harder than ever before, the potential for concussion (classified as a mild traumatic brain injury -TBI), continues to increase.
Fortunately, with proper management and careful return to participation, the ability to protect the long-term health of athletes is more effective than ever. The ImPACT Concussion Management Model promotes the highest level of care and a safe return to play for athletes of all ages, from younger children (ages 10 and up) to collegiate and professional athletes.
To get started, call our office to schedule the baseline test. This test is recommended when your child is getting their sport physical with us. It’s affordable and will provide peace of mind, knowing that if a concussion occurs, you and your provider will be well prepared to manage it effectively. Even without a baseline test, ImPACT’s scientific approach and comprehensive data can take some of the guesswork out of when it’s safe to return to play.
ImPACT is the industry leader in concussion management and trusted by teams and organizations around the world.
The following information is provided by ImPACT Applications Inc.
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
- Concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury.
- Every concussion is different; symptoms and recovery are different for everyone.
- Trained healthcare providers are the only ones who can diagnose and treat concussions.
- Post-concussion syndrome happens in 1 of 5 concussions.
- Not reporting a concussion puts you at risk for lasting damage.
- You can sleep after a concussion, as long as there aren’t danger signs.
- One of the best ways to prepare for a concussion is to take a baseline test.
WHAT CAUSES A CONCUSSION?
Many people think that contact sports are the primary cause and that concussions are mostly a sports injury. Actually, according to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the main cause of concussions.
When a concussion occurs, there is an energy crisis in the brain. The impact of the brain against the skull can cause the brain to swell. It can even be life-threatening in rare cases.
Anyone is at risk for concussions. They occur frequently in sports (especially contact sports), but they can happen from falls, car accidents, and non-contact sports too.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a “cure-all” for the injury. There’s not a perfect way to prevent them, either.
An individual who has had a concussion can feel entirely back to normal with a short period of rest and proper treatment or rehabilitation. Download the Concussion 101 Guide for future reference.
WHAT IS BASELINE TESTING?
These tests measure reaction time, memory, and processing speed and give healthcare providers an accurate picture of your normal brain function. They can use that baseline test data to compare with post-injury data to determine the extent of your injury. They can also use this data to help decide when you’re back to normal cognitive functioning.
HOW TO TELL IF YOU HAVE A CONCUSSION?
Concussions can be tricky. Even trained healthcare providers may have a hard time diagnosing concussions because of its varying signs and symptoms. The majority of the time, concussions don’t show up on CT scans or MRIs. But just because a CT scan or MRI is negative, does not rule out a concussion.
Healthcare providers have to rely on clinical expertise and objective tools to help them diagnose and treat concussions. Please call our office at 713-510-7030 if you’ve recently been hit in the head and experience any concussion symptoms. Keep in mind: most of the time concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.
WHAT ARE CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS?
Concussion symptoms can vary drastically from person to person. Some show up right after the injury, like vomiting, dizziness, or headache. Some may show up days or weeks after the injury, like irritability, depression, or sleep problems. It is important to communicate regularly with your healthcare provider about any changes in your symptoms.
Research has shown that pre-existing risk factors may influence which concussion symptoms are experienced. For instance: an individual with a family history of migraine will likely experience migraine symptoms after head trauma. An individual with a lazy eye may experience vision problems after the head injury. Be sure that you talk about any medical conditions you have when you see a provider with a suspected concussion.
Again, you don’t need to lose consciousness to get a concussion. Check in with your healthcare provider if you experience any concussion symptoms and have recently experienced a blow to the head.
Concussion symptoms can include:
- Problems with concentration/memory
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Change in sleep pattern
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Feeling foggy
Download the Concussion 101 Guide for future reference.
HOW LONG DO CONCUSSION SYMPTOMS LAST?
Concussion symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to weeks or months. This usually depends on whether or not the concussion is properly cared for. Post-concussion syndrome refers to lingering symptoms that last longer than the expected recovery time (about 3 weeks in adults, and up to a month in young children and adolescents).
Repeated concussions can cause symptoms to get much worse and can even cause life-threatening issues and long-term damage. It’s important that individuals speak up if they notice any concussion signs and a teammate acting out of character.
Concussion symptoms may sometimes look like other disorders, including depression or chronic migraines. If it’s happening to you or someone you know, recommend that they visit a healthcare provider to check for a concussion.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A CONCUSSION?
Concussion may have several signs visible to those familiar with an individual who’s recently experienced a blow to the head. There are many subtle signs that can point towards a concussion. Sometimes your teammates, coaches, or parents may be the ones to recognize these signs. Getting a concussion feels different for every person that experiences it. Symptoms differ drastically from person to person.
Signs of a concussion can include:
- Change in behavior
- Sleeping much more or less than usual
- Grades dropping for a student
- Increased anxiety
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Feeling worse in the afternoon compared to the morning
It’s important to see a healthcare provider to check for a concussion if you notice these signs.
WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS WITH NOT REPORTING A CONCUSSION?
There are severe risks if you continue to participate in an activity after a head injury.
If you are not evaluated for a concussion by a trained healthcare provider, you may be at risk for second impact syndrome and post-concussion syndrome. It is important to tell someone if you have had a hit to the head or body and are feeling any symptoms that can be related to a concussion. Download the Concussion 101 Guidefor future reference.
WHAT TO DO FOR A CONCUSSION?
Call our office at 512-610-7030 if you think you have a concussion.
Our providers are trained to recognize concussions, and they can help you get the treatment you need. Most healthcare providers will recommend a brief period of rest followed by light activity that progresses back to full activity.
In some cases, your provider will recommend specific treatment or rehabilitation that targets the areas affected after a concussion.
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION TEST?
A concussion test is a tool or device used to check a person’s level of functioning after a suspected concussion. There are several types of concussion tests, including neurocognitive, balance, vestibular ocular, motion sensors, and more. These tests do not diagnose concussion, but rather note deficits in function of areas known to be affected by a concussion.
Because concussion is such a hot topic, there are new devices being marketed regularly. While some tools or devices have been scientifically validated, others make claims that are not supported by science. There are many mobile apps that make untrue claims about their ability to detect a concussion.
Fortunately, there are some concussion tests that have been studied and found to be useful for assessing concussion. Healthcare providers have resources and research available to help them select validated tests. Most importantly, there is no one perfect concussion test. Healthcare providers need to use multiple sources to help them make concussion diagnosis and return to activity decisions.
Make sure your healthcare provider has the data they need to help you get better. Take a baseline test to ensure you have good comparison data after an injury. Download the Concussion 101 Guide for future reference.
HOW TO DIAGNOSE A CONCUSSION?
Healthcare providers use multiple tools and techniques to check for a concussion. There is no one perfect diagnostic tool. Clinicians rely on objective tools as well as clinical expertise and symptom reporting to help determine whether a patient has a concussion.
They may use any of the following tools to help make a concussion diagnosis:
- Clinical examination
- Neurocognitive testing (memory, reaction time, etc.)
- Balance testing
- Vestibular ocular testing
- Symptom inventories
HOW TO TREAT A CONCUSSION?
Concussion is treated differently depending on the symptoms a person has. Research has shown that active rehabilitation and actively targeting deficits a person experiencing is an excellent way to treat a concussion.
Similarly, someone who sustains a concussion for the first time will be treated differently than someone who has had repeated concussions. Common concussion treatments include vision therapy, vestibular therapy, and exertion therapy.
CONCUSSION AND SLEEP: WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN?
It’s a common myth that you shouldn’t sleep after a concussion. In fact, sleep can help your brain get the rest it needs after a concussion, especially in the first 24 hours. As long as you don’t present danger signs, you can sleep.
Danger signs can include dilated pupils, slurred speech, worsening headaches, confusion, or loss of consciousness. If they do show some of these signs, you may want to go to the emergency department for a physical examination.
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