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  • Dr Lance Knaub

Do You Know the Signs of Concussion?

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

Parents cite concussion as the injury they are most concerned about in youth sports. Yet surprisingly, a recent study found that most parents did not realize that a concussion is actually a mild traumatic brain injury. My first physical therapy position was with brain injured clients, and many of them were severely injured and their lives will never be the same, and will actually be forever impacted. Every single day when I went home I realized how much I had to be thankful for after seeing the often shattered lives of these individuals who were receiving therapies 8 hours per day, and many required 24 hour supervision in their living setting.

The current standard of care is- if there is suspicion of a concussion, you should remove an athlete from play as a coach or parent.

Basically, “When in doubt, sit them out.

It is possible for healthcare professionals to diagnose concussions immediately (depending on how it presents). Keep in mind it is a clinical diagnosis, and there are no diagnostic tests currently available, which will confirm the diagnosis. Ruling out the diagnosis of concussion is more difficult, and may take up to 48 hours because symptoms can take that long to reveal themselves. (This is the reason if anything is suspicious, athletes should not return to play on the same day.)

This photo is from the 3B Journal club on 3.26.19 on concussion, led by Dr. Arthur Bartolozzi, Matt Hay, PA-C, ATC and the Orthopedic physician fellows, where we reviewed 6 recent studies and discussed relevant information among various sports medicine professionals.

Some “old school” myths were dispelled such as having to be unconscious to have a concussion. Medical knowledge has progressed very much in the last 20-30 years, especially with all of the research emphasis due to the media exposure with the NFL and even Hollywood.

In general, we are much quicker to remove athletes from play, and much more careful returning athletes to play. The stories about concussion management in the 1980’s was almost shocking to the attendees in the room because we have come so far since then.

If you are a parent or a coach, I’d suggest you learn the basic signs of concussion.

“Heads up” is a free resource from CDC with a lot of valuable info made easy for parents, coaches, and players. The site also includes free training/certification.

If you would like to see a compelling video of a football player Preston Pevretes, whose life is forever changed, maybe unnecessarily. He had a subdural hematoma, and possibly something called second impact syndrome, which can be fatal. There is a period of time after a concussion where your brain is susceptible to a second larger injury which can be devastating.

Link to Preston Pevretes story:

If you are a healthcare professional, interested in sports medicine and live near the Philadelphia area, come join us for free continuing education, lively discussion, and a lot of fun at the journal clubs.

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