Concussion is a widespread problem in all contact sports. The purpose of the Shannon Concussion Clinic is to assist area schools with proper concussion care and treatment for student athletes.
The Brain and Spine Institute at Shannon and the Shannon Orthopedics and Sports Medicine departments have engaged in a universal treatment regimen for concussions among all Shannon providers, in addition to the clinic. Each medical professional administering concussion treatment has received ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) certification.
The ImPACT test is a neurocognitive test that measures multiple aspects of cognitive function in athletes, including attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, nonverbal problem solving, and reaction time. The test takes approximately 20 minutes.
At the end of the test, a baseline is reported for each individual. When a concussion is suspected, an ImPACT-certified medical professional administers a follow-up test and then compares the outcome to the baseline result. From there, a treatment plan is established on an individualized basis. The plan is then shared with the school district.
Treatment of a concussion involves eliminating certain activities that stress the brain and may vary for each individual.
Treatment may include no texting, television or video games along with modifications in the classroom setting. It is up to parents to make sure these rules are enforced at home as well.
Individuals must be 100 percent recovered before being sent back to sports or the classroom. If they are not fully recovered, lifelong damage to the brain could result.
Signs of a concussion
- Appears to be dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment
- Forgets plays
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even temporarily)
- Shows behavior or personality change
- Forgets events prior to hit (retrograde amnesia)
- Forgets events after hit (anterograde amnesia)
Signs reported by athlete:
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or fuzzy vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish
- Feeling "foggy"
- Change in sleep pattern
- Concentration or memory problems
Although the majority of athletes who experience a concussion are likely to recover, an unknown number may experience chronic cognitive and neurobehavioral difficulties related to recurrent injury. Symptoms may include:
- Chronic headaches
- Sleep difficulties
- Personality changes (e.g., increased irritability, emotionality)
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Dizziness when standing quickly
- Deficits in short-term memory, problem solving and general academic functioning
This constellation of symptoms is referred to post-concussion syndrome and can be quite disabling for an athlete. In some cases, such difficulties can be permanent and disabling.
In addition to post-concussion syndrome, suffering a second blow to the head while recovering from an initial concussion can have catastrophic consequences, as in the case of second impact syndrome, which has led to approximately 30 to 40 deaths over the past decade.
Shannon Sports Medicine provides on-site injury assessment when the team is present at sporting events. Parents may also seek concussion evaluation or treatment for their children by calling the Shannon Concussion Clinic at 325.658.5681 or 800.458.8384.