Sports related concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury that occur typically during the field of play, but can happen in all walks of life. That usually results from a direct blow to the head or neck or from forces transmitted to the head and neck from the rest of the body.

Concussions typically present in an acute event and athletes or patients typically will have an acute neurologic deficit and that can be anywhere from amnesia and loss of consciousness to just slightly stumbling and having a little bit of loss of balance. Any athlete with a suspected concussion should be removed from the field of play, especially our high school athletes.

They should be evaluated by a physician within the first couple of days, and the acute symptoms typically take about 24 to 48 hours to resolve. After that, there’s been a lot of studies that have come out recently about the benefit of actually having early exercise as a treatment for a concussion. There is something called the Buffalo concussion treadmill test that has shown that early return to exercise reduces symptoms and concussion and can get people back to playing the sport or doing the things they love faster.

Typical concussions will resolve within approximately seven days, and most athletes can get back to the field within that time frame. A graded return to play is important to make sure that symptoms don’t develop and affect athletes on their way back to getting into the field of play and should be put together in combination with a physician and an athlete’s athletic trainer.

If symptoms persist in children longer than four weeks, prolonged persistent concussive or post concussive episode can be diagnosed, and those individuals should be further evaluated with neuropsychiatric testing.


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