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Sports and Exercise Medicine

Concussion


All concussions share one common factor — they temporarily interfere with how the brain functions. Concussions affect memory, judgment, reflexes, speech, balance and coordination. Usually caused by impact to the head, concussions may or may not involve a loss of consciousness. Most concussions, in fact, are not accompanied by unconsciousness. In fact, it is possible to sustain a concussion without realizing it. Most concussions are mild, however, and patients usually experience a full recovery.  Signs and symptoms associated with a concussion include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Our physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of concussions. It’s usually simple to diagnose a concussion; however, it is difficult to determine whether injury to the head has caused bleeding or swelling in the skull. That’s why our physicians will conduct a neurological exam and perform a detailed evaluation of signs and symptoms associated with the injury. Imaging of the brain and in-office neuropsychological testing may be incorporated as well.      

Rest is generally prescribed as the best recovery technique for a concussion.  Physicians often see children and teenagers who have sustained a concussion while playing competitive sports; therefore, they will recommend that parents understand the severity of the concussion and know what signs and symptoms to watch for after head injury.  It is also important to follow the physician’s guidelines when determining whether to allow individuals to return to activity, which typically involves a stepwise progression with supervision related to symptom recurrence.