Concussions – Things To Know
What is a concussion?
A concussion is an impact to the head from a fall, collision, or blow that can result in physical, emotional, cognitive, or sleep impairments.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Although the classic symptoms of loss of consciousness, confusion, memory loss, and/or balance problems may be present in some athletes with mild concussion, there may or may not be obvious signs that a concussion has occurred. Symptoms may not be present immediately after the hit or play.
It is important to take time to perform a full evaluation of the player to determine whether a concussion occurred prior to allowing them to return to the game or practice.
A majority of young athletes who experience a concussion will be symptom free in one to two weeks. However, some young athletes may have persistent symptoms that require further evaluation and frequent follow-ups with a physician or concussion specialist. Persistent symptoms may interfere with the young athlete’s ability to complete tasks in school or daily life.
Due to signs, symptoms, and impairments associated with a concussion the Center for Disease Control is now classifying concussion as a traumatic brain injury.
What if I suspect my child has a concussion?
Take them to the emergency room.
Follow up with appropriate healthcare provider trained in concussion management.
Contact the UPMC concussion Program for a follow up evaluation - 412-432-3681.
Please note that not all medical insurance policies cover post-concussion evaluations including ImPACT follow up testing and can be expensive. To determine your medical coverage, you will need to contact your medical insurance provider.
What can I allow my athlete to do after a suspected concussion?
Take pain medication as prescribed by your health care provider.
Use an ice pack on the head and/or neck for comfort.
What are myths about treatment after concussion?
Although athletes are not advised to participate in strenuous activity after a suspected concussion, they no longer have to remain in bed. If the athlete falls asleep it is not necessary to wake them up every hour.
What activities should the athlete avoid after a concussion?
Do not text or play computer games.
Driving while symptoms are present.
Exercising or lifting weights. This will increase heart rate and blood pressure which could increase symptoms.
Participate in any physical activity until cleared by your health care professional or the UPMC Sports Concussion Program.
Should my athlete stay home from school after a concussion?
Students who experience symptoms of concussion often need extra help to perform school-related activities and may not perform at their best on classroom or standardized tests. If the athlete exhibits severe symptoms where they cannot concentrate for more than 30 to 45 minutes, staying home may be indicated until symptoms improve. If symptoms are less severe, rest breaks during school can help with the recovery process.
When can my athlete return to play after a concussion?
An athlete should not participate in physical education class, physical activity at recess or sports practices or games when symptoms are present. The injured person should never return to sports or active recreation with any symptoms unless directed by a healthcare professional.
If for any reason you think your son or daughter may have had a hit to the head or any other potential for a concussion prior to taking this BASELINE test, it is strongly recommended that he or she seek medical care from the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion experts.
Who should interpret the post-concussion test results?
Many sports medicine clinicians want to learn to interpret the test results and can be trained through a course offered by ImPACT®. The UPMC Sports Concussion program is an official Certified ImPACT® Consultation (CIC) testing location. A CIC is an ImPACT® partner with the education, training, and experience that comes with completing the credentialed ImPACT® Consultant Program. To schedule a Post-Concussion test or for assistance finding a CIC testing site near you contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
What happens after the post-injury test results are interpreted?
If ImPACT® results are abnormal, continue to refrain from practice and competition. A referral should be made to a CIC specialist for a comprehensive neurocognitive, balance, and vestibular evaluation. Once scores have returned to baseline level and symptoms have resolved the neuropsychologist will work with your athletic trainer or a physical therapist trained in concussion management to begin exertion testing.
Locations for Concussion Testing
UPMC Center for Sports Medicine
3200 South Water St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Additional sites available through the UPMC Sports Medicine registration page