Concussions are one of the most common sports injuries, and one of the most misunderstood. Concussions are a mild traumatic brain injury. While some people are knocked unconscious by a concussion, many others never lose consciousness.
Today, we know concussions mean much more than “just getting your bell rung,” as the old saying goes. Significant injury can occur from a concussion even if you don’t lose consciousness. And returning to the game right after a concussion—no matter how mild or severe—places athletes at risk for a more serious injury called second impact syndrome.
If you or your child suffers a concussion, count on the sports medicine specialists at Upper Bucks Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. Our team includes John Minnich, MD, and Dale Bautista, MD. Dr. Minnich is a credentialed consultant in ImPACT. That stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. It’s the first, most widely-used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. ImPACT helps give your doctors information to help you or your child make sound decisions about returning to the field.
Here are answers to some other questions about concussions and concussion management you may have:
Each concussion is unique. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, irritability, sadness or nervousness. Some people may experience balance problems, trouble falling asleep, sleeping more than usual, or sensitivity to light or noise. Other symptoms may include feeling more emotional, feeling mentally foggy, numbness or tingling, difficulty communicating, concentrating or remembering, or vision problems such as double or blurry vision.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine exactly when the brain has healed from the first concussion. However, neurocognitive testing may help physicians determine when it’s safe for an athlete to return to a sport. Your best bet, according to the experts, is to see a trained medical physician for evaluation, treatment and clearance whenever you or your child suffers a concussion.
It occurs when a second head injury—even a minor one—happens before the first one is resolved. Second impact syndrome is potentially fatal.
Every concussion is different. It’s best to have a sports medicine specialist perform baseline testing or post-concussion neurocognitive testing. Such testing is considered the cornerstone or proper concussion management by an international panel of sports medicine experts.