Posts Tagged ‘signs of concussion’

Key Steps To Diagnosing And Treating Concussions

orth-concussion-checklistv3The current medical definition of a concussion is essentially a ‘transient alteration in mental status that may or may not require loss of consciousness that may result from a direct or indirect blow to the head.’ The struggle many of us feel when we read this is, ‘What does that mean?’

It is critical for orthopaedic surgeons who work on the sidelines of athletic teams, athletic trainers, athletes, parents of athletes, coaches and school administrators to be able to correctly recognize and diagnose a concussion. After an athlete suffers a head injury, any misdiagnosis may lead to severe brain damage, prolonged disability, and even death.

However, a concussion may be tough to diagnose if a person does not know what to look for, or if an athlete does not report his or her symptoms. A concussion can present itself in a variety of ways, making it difficult for non-concussion experts to detect, diagnose and treat. Other than temporary loss of consciousness, which is most recognizable, other signs and symptoms of a concussion include:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”

Concussion diagnosis

While signs and symptoms of a concussion generally show up shortly after the injury, some symptoms may not show up for hours or days. 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. However, it is believed that around 50 percent of concussions go unreported.

Because the effects of a concussion are not always visible, many athletes return to their sport too quickly following a head injury. That’s why it’s crucial 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.

Concussion treatment

According to recent studies, 79 percent of Americans believe there is no way to cure a concussion and only 29 percent of Americans believe all concussions are treatable. These days, a concussion is fully treatable, but the key is to identify risk factors that may prolong and complicate recovery early on. At Emory, our team of concussion experts pioneer and utilize the latest treatment therapies to deliver treatment plans developed for each athlete. Some treatment recommendations include cognitive and physical rest, while others require more aggressive therapies. No two concussions are alike; therefore no two concussion treatment plans should the same.

To schedule a consultation with a concussion expert at Emory, or to see one of our sports medicine specialists, please request an appointment online or call 404-778-3350.

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About Emory Sports Medicine Center

The Emory Sports Medicine Center is a leader in advanced treatments for patients with orthopaedic and sports-related injuries. From surgical sports medicine expertise to injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine physicians and specialists provide comprehensive treatments for athletic injuries in Atlanta, Dunwoody and Johns Creek. Constantly conducting research and developing new techniques, the sports medicine specialists at Emory are experienced in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of sports injuries, including concussions.

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.

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: