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What you should know about Concussions

The numbers of reported concussions have been on the rise, especially among young athletes, although there is debate over whether this is due to sports being rougher or better awareness and diagnosis. A concussion is a brain injury that can result from a blow to the head, even if a player is wearing a helmet. The injury can also be caused by a jolt to the body that “jars” the brain against the skull.
 
It’s important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a concussion, which may appear immediately or later:
 
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness/fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Balance problems
  • Problems concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Mood or behavior changes 
One important tool to help manage a concussion in an athlete is the use of ImPACT, which is a computer-based neuropsychological test used to measure memory, focus, concentration, speed and reaction time. Baseline concussion testing is done before their season and if a concussion is diagnosed, the test can be repeated post-injury and compared to their baseline to determine whether they have recovered from their concussion. It is important to work with a physician experienced in concussion management who can fully evaluate and treat a sport-related concussion to assure safe return to sport participation.
 
Joseph Bernard, DO, is a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC) with extensive experience managing concussions at all levels of sports participation. For more information, call 603-777-1000.