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Concussion Basics

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury.  It commonly occurs due to a sports injury or an accident.  Concussions are diagnosed by performing a series of physical and cognitive (thinking) assessments.  Concussions do not show up on X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or EEGs.  Approximately 80% of concussions resolve within the first two weeks after injury.  Out of the remaining 20%, about 80% of those concussions are healed by a month’s time. For the rare few concussions that persist, a referral to a neurologist is in order.

Program Goals

  • To establish baselines for individual performance on physical and cognitive assessments prior to injury.
  • Evaluation for concussion in the event of injury
  • Monitoring progress and establishment of appropriate limits on return to activity
  • Identification of situations requiring referral to specialists and facilitating access to those services

Baseline Testing

Neurocognitive testing is performed as part of concussion management.  The testing has an increased value in management when post-injury performance is compared with the individuals own pre-injury performance as opposed to average values of clinical trial test subjects.  We utilize ImPACT in the office to conduct the neurocognitive testing portion of concussion management.  As part of our concussion management program we encourage our student athletes to obtain a “baseline” test.  This is often done in the athletes school and if the school utilizes the ImPACT test for such, we would simply need their “Passport ID” to obtain the full test report.  If this is not performed at the athletes school, we can administer the baseline testing in our office.  The baseline testing involves measuring visual and verbal memory, reaction time and processing speed through completion of numerous tasks.  The purpose is to get an objective measurement of how well and how quickly your child’s brain is managing information.

Remember, baseline testing must be done before a head injury occurs – so a great time to schedule it is before a sports season starts.  Testing is available by appointment only Tuesday-Friday from 8am – 5pm.  For children 5-11 years of age, the test takes about 20-30 minutes to complete. For children 12 and up, the test takes about 30-45 minutes to complete.

Post-Injury Management

In the unfortunate event of a head injury:

  • Call us!  Most times we can assess the severity of the injury in the office.  If the injury occurs after hours, we will speak with you and advise as to whether it is necessary to be seen in an emergency room or wait until the next day.
  • The first 48 hours of concussion management is about rest, hydration, and proper nutrition.  Screen time needs to be minimized.
  • After the first 48 hours, reassessment in office consists of physical and neurocognitive assessment.  This visit is extensive and often takes over an hour to complete.  Return to activity protocols are established along with follow up.
  • Reassessments continue every 1-2 weeks until complete resolution occurs.

Additional Information

There are many concussion resources available on the internet.  These are well regarded and reliable sources.  Every concussion is different, just as every child is different. The care we provide is based on established guidelines but individualized to your child’s specific needs.