Concussion Testing

Concussion Overview

 

A concussion is a disturbance in brain function that occurs following either a blow to the head or as a result of the violent shaking of the head.

In the United States, the annual incidence of sports-related concussion is estimated at 300,000.  Estimates regarding the likelihood of an athlete in a contact sport experiencing a concussion may be as high as 19% per season. 

 

Post-Concussion Syndrome

 

Although the majority of athletes who experience a concussion are likely to recover, an unknown number of these individuals may experience chronic cognitive and neurobehavioral difficulties related to recurrent injury.  Symptoms may include: 

Chronic headaches

Fatigue

Sleep difficulties

Personality changes (e.g. increased irritability, emotionality)

Sensitivity to light or noise

Dizziness when standing quickly

Deficits in short-term memory, problem solving, and general academic functioning

 

This constellation of symptoms is referred to "Post-Concussion Syndrome" and can be quite disabling for an athlete.  In some cases, such difficulties can be permanent and disabling.

In addition to Post-Concussion Syndrome, suffering a second blow to the head while recovering from an initial concussion can have catastrophic consequences as in the case of "Second Impact Syndrome," which has led to approximately 30-40 deaths over the past decade.

 

Concussion Assessment

 

Upon ruling out more severe injury, acute evaluation continues with assessment of the concussion. 

 

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