Concussion management is an important part of sports medicine, as it is essential to ensure that players are able to return to play safely after an injury. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion is the first step, and understanding the necessary protocols to ensure a safe return to play is the second. This article will provide an overview of concussion management, including recognizing symptoms, performing baseline testing, and ensuring a safe return to play.
The first step in concussion management is recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion. These can include changes in physical, mental and emotional functioning, such as headache, dizziness, confusion, nausea, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. It is important to note that each person may experience different symptoms, and that the symptoms may not be immediately noticeable.
It is also important to understand the types of head impacts that can cause a concussion. Any impact that causes a rapid acceleration or deceleration of the head can cause a concussion, including impacts from another person, a ball, or the ground. It is also possible for a concussion to occur without any direct impact to the head.
Performing Baseline Testing
Baseline testing can help provide a reference point for post-injury evaluations. This type of testing is typically done before the season begins, and is used to assess an individual’s cognitive, physical, and emotional functioning. The results of these tests can then be compared to post-injury tests to help determine if a concussion has occurred. It is important to note that baseline testing alone is not enough to diagnose a concussion, as it should be used in combination with other assessment tools.
Baseline testing typically includes cognitive and physical tests, such as balance and reaction time tests, as well as psychological tests, such as questionnaires to assess mood and emotional functioning. It is important to note that baseline testing should be performed by a trained professional, such as a sports medicine physician or a certified athletic trainer.
Ensuring a Safe Return to Play
Once a concussion has been diagnosed, it is important to ensure a safe return to play. This process typically includes a gradual return to activity, with the individual being monitored closely for any signs of worsening symptoms. It is also important to note that each individual’s return to play should be tailored to their needs, and should take into account their age, medical history, and the type and severity of the concussion.
The return to play process typically involves several steps, including rest, light aerobic exercise, sport-specific activities, non-contact drills and practices, and full contact practice. It is important to note that the individual should only progress to the next step of the process if they are symptom-free at the current step. A physician or certified athletic trainer should be consulted before returning to play.
Concussion management is an important part of sports medicine, and recognizing the signs and symptoms of a concussion is the first step. Performing baseline testing can help provide a reference point for post-injury evaluations, and ensuring a safe return to play is essential. It is important to note that each individual’s return to play should be tailored to their needs, and that a physician or certified athletic trainer should be consulted before returning to play.
At Eastside Ideal Health, our team of sports medicine experts are dedicated to helping athletes of all ages and skill levels achieve their goals. We offer a variety of services, including baseline concussion testing, and our certified athletic trainers are committed to helping athletes return to play safely and quickly. Learn more about our sports medicine services here.