A concussion is a brain injury that disrupts normal brain cell function. It cannot be detected on MRI or CT scan. The initial injury does not need to be severe and may only cause temporary headache, dizziness or feeling “dazed”. The brain injury, however, continues to evolve and it can take hours to days to know the full extent of damage.
The CDC estimates 3.8 million sports related concussions occur each year in the United States. The majority occur in high school and middle school athletes. Up to 15% of high school football players suffer a concussion each season. Teenagers are known to take longer to recover from concussion with 1 in 5 still symptomatic after 3 weeks.
While we still have much to learn about concussions, we do know some key facts:
- Concussions are brain injuries that can have serious consequences
- Attempting to “play through” a concussion before it fully heals increases your risk of prolonged or permanent injury and possibly even death
- Athletes suspected of sustaining a concussion should be immediately removed from all activity until the full extent of their brain injury is known
At VISM, we perform a thorough evaluation for all patients and offer guidance on return to school and when it is safe to return to sports. This includes assessment of symptoms, neurological exam, vestibular/balance testing and neurocognitive testing. We utilize ImPACT neurocognitive testing to provide a more objective measure of memory, processing speed and reaction time. We can compare ImPACT test results to pre-injury “baseline” scores obtained by most area high schools during the pre-season. We also offer pre-season baseline testing if your son or daughter does not have one.
ImPACT takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including:
•Sustained and selective attention time
•Non-verbal problem solving