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Sports Concussions

According to the Centers for Disease Control, emergency department visits for sports- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions, among children and adolescents increased by 60% during the past decade. For this reason, recognition, diagnosis, management and education are critical for helping young athletes with suspected concussion fully recover.

Crozer Health ’s fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians provide comprehensive care for athletes who have suffered a concussion or head injury.

Signs of a Concussion Caused by a Sports Injury

Sometimes, concussion symptoms are present right away. However, it could take days or even weeks after the injury for symptoms to show up. The key is to observe your child; if you see or they report any of the signs or symptoms listed below, seek medical attention right away.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offer these guidelines for detecting a concussion:

Observed Signs

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior or personality changes

Reported Symptoms

  • 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”

Most people have symptoms that resolve within a week, but they can last as little as a few minutes to as long as a year or more.

Responding to a Concussion

If you think your child or teen has suffered a concussion during a game, remove the child from play and seek medical attention right away.

Crozer Health ’s sports medicine physicians are trained in the evaluation and management of concussions and can determine how serious the injury is, what steps need to be taken and when your child can return to play. We do not require a referral from your primary care provider for evaluation and management of sports concussions.

Concussion Testing

Our physicians are specially trained in Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) neuropsychological testing. ImPACT is a computerized system that is used to evaluate and manage sports concussions.

Before the season begins, we use ImPACT to measure a player’s verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time to establish baseline cognitive functions.

Should your child experience a concussion or suspected concussion, our specialists will perform a repeat ImPACT examination, which will be compared to the baseline test. The comparison will help to determine the severity of the injury, define a treatment plan and guide safe return-to-play decisions.

Every child who participates in organized sports should have preseason baseline testing done, including a physical evaluation by a sports medicine physician and detailed medical history.