What you should do if you think you or someone you know has had a concussion
A concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury, is caused by either a direct or indirect force to the head. Usually, someone other than the injured person identifies the problem. If you, or someone you know, may have had an injury to the head – potentially a concussion – seek care as soon as possible. And, if symptoms increase over a period of minutes to hours, go to the nearest Emergency Department immediately.
The usual “red flags” to skip outpatient care and go directly to a hospital’s Emergency Department include severe and worsening headache, worsening coordination/balance problems, visual problems, unable to recognize people/places, slurred speech, vomiting repeatedly, worsening nausea, more confusion, seizures or any change in strength or sensation to the face, or an arm or leg.
How we diagnose a concussion
We diagnose a concussion based on international standards of how concussion symptoms manifest. We clarify the diagnosis using computerized and non-computer-based clinical tools. One of the non-computerized tools we use is a questionnaire called the SCAT-5 and Child SCAT-5, short for Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, now in its 5th edition. It allows providers to identify a concussion shortly after an incident.
Are concussions handled the same for children and adults?
Children are not small adults thus, head injury evaluations are different. Providers seek history from witnesses and questions are age-appropriate. When it comes to implementing recommendations and follow-up care, parents must take the lead and help children follow the protocols.
Concussion Clinic Friday’s at 9AM
During this time, Dr. Brad Abrahamson will discuss your symptoms, determine if you have a concussion, and recommend the best course of treatment for healing.
To sleep or not to sleep with a concussion?
Most of the time, rest makes sense and helps the brain heal. However, at the time of the evaluation, the patient receives information as to the severity of the injury. If the injury appears severe enough causing concern about a skull fracture or brain bleed, the patient will be directed to the nearest Emergency Department for the appropriate imaging. Based on the results of the clinical evaluation and/or imaging, recommendations will be made on whether to let the patient sleep or wake them every few hours.
Customized concussion treatment plan
We treat concussions based on the latest research. We use consensus documents and research done in specialized centers such as the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. In the past, recommendations for post-concussion care called for aggressive brain rest. Based on newer research, we now know that appropriately introduced activity and brain stimulation help you recover faster than complete brain rest.
Dr. Abrahamson has treated hundreds of concussions throughout his decades-long career. He and his Athletic Training staff craft an individualized treatment plan that aims to get your back to your normal self and activities as quickly as possible. As a general practice, we follow concussion patients weekly and introduce appropriate therapies and new activities guideline thus, ensuring optimal progress.