Posts Tagged ‘Concussions’

Concussions in Young Athletes Live Chat Takeaways

concussion260x200Concussions in young athletes are a hot topic as the fall sports season begins again. Concussion rates are rising sharply among U.S. kids and teens, researchers report, and concussion diagnoses more than doubled between 2007 and 2014. According to the CDC, more than 248,000 U.S. children and teens land in the emergency room each year because of a concussion sustained in sports or recreational activities, such as bicycling, football, basketball, soccer and from playground injuries.

We hosted a live chat on Tuesday, August 9th with Dr. Jeffrey Webb, pediatric sports medicine physician at Emory Sports Medicine Center to address this important topic. Thanks to such a great turnout, we were able to answer quite a few questions that were submitted both prior to and during the chat. Below are some highlights from the live chat. View the full chat transcript here.

 

Question:What are the treatments for a concussion?

Dr. Webb: The most important treatment initially is rest and avoidance of anything that worsens symptoms or contact to the brain. Healthy habits such as eating right and drinking a lot of fluids also seem to be helpful. Sometimes physical therapy and vestibular therapy can help speed up recovery.

Question: Is imaging needed to confirm a concussion?

Dr. Webb: No, imaging is not needed to confirm a concussion. A CT scan and/or MRI does not show a concussion. It is more of a functional disturbance than structural problem. An athlete only needs these scans if there is concern for a more serious injury, like a skull fracture or brain bleed.

Question: It’s really good to hear you say that plenty of sleep will help in the recovery process. I’ve heard in the past that when a child receive an impact, that we may suspect is a concussion, that the 1st thing to do is to not allow them to fall asleep, if they feel the certain urge to. Is the “urge to fall asleep” a common side affect of a concussion, and if so, should we prevent a player from doing so?

Dr. Webb: This is something that has changed in the last 10- 20 years with management of concussions. We used to tell parents to wake their child up frequently the night of a concussion. We now know that sleep is important for recovery, and it is important to let them sleep. The only exception would be if someone had a skull fracture or bleed in the brain, in which case they would probably be admitted to the hospital and have much more serious symptoms than a standard concussion.

 

Thanks again to everyone who joined us for this live chat. You can find the full chat transcript here and learn more about concussions by clicking below.

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Concussions in Young Athletes – Live Chat on August 9, 2016

concussion260x200Is the peewee football phase too early to wonder about concussions? Maybe not. Concussion rates are rising sharply among U.S. kids and teens, researchers report, and concussion diagnoses more than doubled between 2007 and 2014. According to the CDC, more than 248,000 U.S. children and teens land in the emergency room each year because of a concussion sustained in sports or recreational activities, such as bicycling, football, basketball, soccer and from playground injuries.

If you have a young child or a student athlete who is participating in sports and want to learn more about how to prevent, detect and treat concussions, join us on Tuesday, August 9 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a live online chat to discuss the topic. Our host is Dr. Jeffrey Webb, pediatric sports medicine physician at Emory Sports Medicine Center. Dr. Webb will also discuss the laws that Georgia has passed targeting concussion in high school and younger athletes.

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About Dr. Webb

webb-jeffreyDr. Webb sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. During his training and practice he has provided medical coverage for division I college football and other sports, multiple high schools, ballet, the Rockettes, marathons, international track and field events, and the Special Olympics. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and is also a consulting physician for several Atlanta area high schools, the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College and many other club sports teams.

He is active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books.

Experts Reveal New Post-Concussion Treatment Recommendations: Rest Is Not Best

footballEarlier this month, 37 concussion specialists and researchers from around the country met in Pittsburgh to discuss the effectiveness of a common treatment option for concussions. I had the honor of representing Emory Healthcare and participating in this game-changing conference.

The goal of the two-day conference, which was held at University of Pittsburg Medical Center (UPMC), was to get the word out that concussions are treatable injuries and should no longer be treated with strict rest alone. There were several consensus statements on the issue that were debated in detail, and ultimately agreed/disagreed upon.

After much conversation, my fellow concussion experts and I came to the conclusion that despite popular belief, prolonged rest, a common treatment recommendation for concussions, does not aid in the recovery from a concussion and can actually worsen it. This conclusion is somewhat controversial because prolonged rest is a worldwide treatment method used by almost every person following a concussion. A major takeaway from this group was agreement that concussions are treatable and under the appropriate care an athlete should recover from the injury and excel at his or her highest performance levels.

Attention to traumatic brain injuries has increased over the past few years mainly due to an increase in sports-related injuries, especially from football. Athletes in the United States suffer around 300,000 concussions every year, but many mild concussions go undiagnosed and unreported so the number is even higher. Each concussion is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all way to treat them. Symptoms are not always visible, making it hard to definitively know when it’s safe for an athlete to return to play.

Because concussions are unique to each patient, assembling clinical profiles with common symptoms and treatments is key to the future development of concussion research and therapies. Active rehabilitation of concussions includes managing overall activity, subthreshold cognitive and physical activity, and focused therapy. Depending on the clinical profile with which a person suffering a concussion best aligns, the treatment plan may include certain specialized therapies, periods of rest, or cognitive exercise.

While this agreement did not produce immediate treatment protocols or guidelines, our hope is that the conference will spark more research on the subject. Over the next few months, the other physicians and I will compile our findings to be published in a medical journal, which will generate additional papers. As these papers are shared publicly, I am confident we will begin to move the ball forward regarding current and future concussion research and care.

We are proud that Emory Healthcare is recognized as a leading concussion program, as evidenced by our role during this national conference, and because of the amazing opportunity it will afford us to play an active role in changing the way concussions are treated for generations to come.

About Dr. Pombo

pombo-matMathew Pombo, MD, joined the Emory Orthopaedic Surgery faculty as a highly regarded orthopaedic surgeon, speaker, author and researcher who specializes in getting patients with injuries back to an active lifestyle. His professional interests include anatomic single- and double-bundle ACL reconstruction, rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, meniscal/cartilage injury and repair, joint preservation in the aging athlete, and minimally invasive joint replacement surgery of the knee and shoulder.

Dr. Pombo has conducted extensive scientific research, published multiple journal articles, written several book chapters, and has presented at both national and international meetings on topics related to sports medicine, concussions, and orthopaedic surgery. He has been instrumental in bringing awareness to sports-related concussions and the new Georgia “Return to Play” Act and is one of the top regarded experts in the area for the treatment of concussions. He currently serves as the Director of the Emory Sports Concussion Program.

Dr. Pombo, his wife, and two boys, Eli and Henry, live in Johns Creek, GA. Dr. Pombo enjoys spending time with his family during his days off. Many of his patients also enjoy watching him succeed in his second career as a professional race car driver where he can be found driving at race tracks across North America.

Related Resources
Warning Signs of Concussions Not Always Visible
Concussions and Female Athletes
How to Recover Fully and Quickly from a Concussion
Takeaways from Dr. Mautner’s Concussion Chat

Concussions and Female Athletes

Concussions in Female AthletesAs the number of sports-related concussions continues to rise across the United States, equally disturbing is recent awareness around increased prevalence of concussions in female athletes versus male athletes.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur each year in the United States, accounting for 5–9% of all sports-related injuries. While the increase in occurrence can be contributed to greater awareness of the symptoms and consequences associated with the injury, it is believed that around 50% of concussions go unreported.

Recent data suggests an increase in the number of concussions sustained by female athletes versus male athletes – with some studies reporting the incidence of concussion in women to be double. Female athletes also experienced (or reported) a higher severity level of symptoms as well as a longer duration of recovery time. The sports in which these differences were most commonly seen were basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Why the sudden increase in female sports-related concussions? While an exact cause or scientific correlation is unknown, there are a few theories that may support why:

  • Physical Differences: women have more slender necks and smaller heads and can experience nearly 50 percent more head acceleration during head trauma.
  • Hormonal Differences: estrogen may play a role in the effects on the brain after injury, while progesterone levels may contribute to and worsen post-concussion symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, etc.

However, not all studies have found significant differences in concussions between the sexes. A study of 15,802 high school athletes in North Carolina, reported more concussions amongst male soccer players than females, while female basketball players reported more concussion incidents than males.

It has been disputed that the difference between the sexes may also be due to reporting bias. Anecdotally, it’s suspected that male athletes may be less likely than female athletes to report concussions for fear of not being able to continue participating in sports. Also, the level of performance (elite versus recreational athletes) and sport types may also contribute to biased study results.

Until there’s more research to support whether an athlete’s sex plays a role in concussion risk and occurrence, all concussions should be prevented and treated the same. Parents, coaches and team physicians should be familiar of the signs and symptoms of a concussion, and provide the proper care. To make sure you know how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion, view our checklist and make sure to report all heads injuries to a health care professional.

About Dr. Mines

Brandon Mines, MDBrandon Mines, MD, is an assistant professor of orthopaedics. Dr. Mines started practicing at Emory in 2005 after completing his Sports Medicine Fellowship at University of California – Los Angeles. Dr. Mines is board certified in both family practice and sports medicine. He has focused his clinical interest on sports injuries and conditions of the shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand, knee, foot and ankle. He is head team physician for the Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Atlanta Dream.

Dr. Mines is a rotational physician for United States soccer teams and team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons along with various local high schools, colleges, and community club teams. He enjoys giving talks and lectures regarding the prevention of sports injuries. In fact, as an active member of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and the American Society for Sports Medicine, Dr. Mines has attended and presented at various national conferences. Through the years, he has helped all levels of athletes return to the top of their game.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

Related Resources

How to Recover Fully and Quickly from a Concussion
Take-Aways from Dr. Mautner’s Concussion Chat
Youth Concussion Law in Georgia- House Bill 284
Female High School Soccer Players 64% More Likely to Suffer from Concussions Than Males

Resources

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
CDC Heads Up
Medscape

Warning Signs of Concussions Not Always Visible

Because the effects are not always visible, many athletes return to their sport too quickly following concussions and head injuries. Unfortunately, this can cause long-term negative health effects. That’s why it’s critical to educate parents, coaches and other athletic officials about the importance of having head injuries examined by a specialized physician who has experience caring for patients with concussion, which can occur with or without the loss of consciousness. Learn more about what we are doing at Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine to care for concussions and to educate the community on the importance of waiting to return to play following a head injury in this short video:

Related Resources:

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Concussion?

Symptoms of ConcussionEarlier this year Governor Nathan Deal signed a youth concussion bill that will go into effect on January 1, 2014.  The new law mandates that if a young athlete is suspected as having a concussion he or she will not be allowed to return to their sport until cleared by a healthcare professional.

If not treated appropriately and released,  the young athlete can be at a higher risk for more concussions.  Multiple concussions can have a negative, long term effect on the brain by impairing memory and processing new information.

Schools can prepare for this change by educating teachers, students and coaches on the signs and symptoms of a concussion.

Symptoms of Concussion Include

  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Personality changes
  • Difficulty walking, speaking or using their arms
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting over and over
  • Confusion that does not get better
  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Convulsions

Other important facts:

  • Over 50 percent of the youth concussions occur in football.
  • Approximately 10 percent of all high school age athletes will suffer from a concussion as a result of their sport in a typical year.
  • Only  10 percent of patients who suffer from a  concussion lose consciousness.

To protect our young athletes all coaches, recreational leaders and parents need to take an active role in ensuring young athletes who receive bumps/blows to the head get evaluated by a physician ASAP.

Related Resources:

About Dr. Olufade          

Oluseun Olufade, M.D.Dr. Olufade is board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team.

Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports medicine  injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in treatment of sports related concussions, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration. Dr. Olufade sees patients at our clinic at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.

Dr Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.

About Emory Ortho, Sports and Spine in Johns Creek and Duluth
Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine has recently opened two new clinics, one in Johns Creek and one in Duluth. Emory physicians, Kyle Hammond, MD, and Oluseun A. Olufade, MD see patients in Johns Creek. Mathew Pombo, MD and T. Scott Maughon, MD see patients in Duluth. Our new clinic locations care for a full range of orthopedic conditions including: sports medicine, hand/wrist/elbow, foot/ankle, joint replacement, shoulder, knee/hip, concussions, and spine. To schedule an appointment call 404-778-3350

Take-Aways from Dr. Mautner’s Concussion Chat

Thank you for attending the live chat on “Concussions and the Young Athlete”.  As you know, concussions are serious conditions that need to be evaluated soon after they occur.   It is important that all parents, coaches and athletes should be aware of the signs and symptoms of a concussion in order to treat and heal properly.  If you were unable to join us, some key points we touched on during the chat are:

Question: What are symptoms of a concussion? 

Ken Mautner, MDAnswer: Symptoms of a concussion do not always arise right after the impact and they can last for days or weeks.  Some of the most common signs are:

Governor Deal Signs New Youth Concussion Bill

Governor Nathan Deal signed a youth concussion bill on Tuesday called the “Return to Play Act”.  This bill will place restrictions on when a young athlete can return to their sport after suffering a  head injury.  Emory Sports Medicine physician, Ken Mautner, MD was highly involved in helping to get the new legislation passed and was at the signing of the bill with Governor Deal.  Dr. Mautner is an expert in the area of sports concussions and is Co-chairman of the Georgia Concussion Coalition, a group whose sole intent is to promote education and awareness of youth concussion across Georgia.

This bill will help coaches, parents and players make the right decisions for their athletes.  The bill requires public and private schools to provide information to parents on concussions and establish certain policies for dealing with student head injuries. Under the law, any youth athlete who is suspected of having a concussions must be removed from play.  The athlete must then receive medical clearance from a health care provider trained in concussion management before he or she can return to play.

The Return to Play Act was written in such a way to implement basic protections and give schools flexibility to build their own programs depending on how much funding they can commit. Georgia joins 43 states with similar laws. Government estimates show hospitals treat some 173,000 traumatic brain injuries among youth that are connected to sports and recreation activities each year.

About Ken Mautner, MD
Ken Mautner, MD is an assistant professor n the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Mautner started practicing at Emory in 2004 after completing a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in PM&R with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, and several local high schools. He has focused his clinical interest on sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play recommendations for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy. Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center
The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.

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Youth Concussion Law in Georgia- House Bill 284

ConcussionsThe Georgia House is reviewing a new youth concussion bill. The bill, House Bill 284, is aimed at concussion education as well as protecting many young Georgia athletes after they experience a concussion. Emory Sports Medicine Center orthopaedist, Ken Mautner, MD comments in the CBS News piece that “There’s a lot of misinformation and unawareness about concussion and I think passing a law like this will bring it into the spotlight, will allow better education, and will ultimately allow protection of our athletes”. Only six states don’t have a youth concussion law so we are hoping the bill passes the House. Watch the News important news report that could keep our young athletes safe here –

How to Recover Fully and Quickly from a Concussion

ConcussionsConcussions get a lot of press in the heart of football season as football players aggressively go after the big win each week but this very serious injury can happen to anyone. It is very important to know the symptoms of this injury to ensure full recovery.

A concussion usually occurs when there is impact to the head or neck area that causes an alteration in mental status. This may or may not involve loss of consciousness (passing out). Common symptoms following a concussion include headaches, noise sensitivity, problems with concentration and memory, irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue and poor judgment. Some symptoms appear immediately and others may take weeks or months to develop. Symptoms can also continue for weeks, months or even a year or more after a concussion, especially if not managed properly or if an athlete returns to their sport to soon.

Emory Sports Medicine physician, Dr. Ken Mautner, says it is important to take proper precautions and visit a physician right away if you suspect any type of brain trauma. Typically, mental and physical rest is the best prescription following a concussion. Medications are typically not prescribed early on after a concussion, but sometimes are helpful to patients who suffer from prolonged symptoms, known as post-concussion syndrome.

Luckily, most patients who sustain a concussion will make a full recovery within days or weeks after the injury. Some patients still experience symptoms for up to 6 months but are OK after this time period. Patients who have had repeated concussions or more severe symptoms may take longer to recover or may have permanent effects from the injury.

Dr. Mautner stresses how important it is to follow helmet and safety precautions when participating in any sport in order to prevent head and neck injuries, including concussions. Experts are constantly studying head injuries and developing new protocols and devices to ensure we all stay safe as we participate in the sports we love.

About Ken Mautner, MD

Ken Mautner, MDKen Mautner, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Mautner started practicing at Emory in 2004 after completing a fellowship in Primary Care Sports Medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama. He is board certified in PM&R with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, and several local high schools. He has focused his clinical interest on sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play recommendations for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy. Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

About Emory Sports Medicine Center
The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapy and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for athletic injuries in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, Emory sports medicine specialists are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries.