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5 Things To Know About Concussions

Today's blog post was written by Craig Kantack, PA, who recently returned from the 2016 Big Sky Athletic Training Sports Medicine Conference, which provides the most up-to-date insights on concussion management. With the emergence of the movie Concussion and all the discussion surrounding the National Football League and CTE Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), concussion is a high profile area of medicine especially in the sports setting. What was previously considered a "hard hit" or “having your bell rung,” is now often diagnosed as a concussion. Due to more intense evaluation, new emerging research and treatment protocols, concussion evaluation and management is an ever evolving field.

The 5 things you should know about concussions:

  1. Sit them out---If there is any question that a concussion has occurred, physical activity/sports should not be continued until further evaluation by a qualified medical professional. There is a saying, “When in doubt, sit them out.”
  2. This should apply to any athlete---regardless of age or level of play.
  3. At present there is no imaging study that can diagnose a concussion---it is a clinical diagnosis.
  4. Seek medical help---find a qualified medical professional who can further evaluate the person in question and if necessary guide their rehabilitation.
  5. Timing is important---studies have shown that patients who see treatment early have better overall outcomes. The old standing rule that 95% of the patients will resolve/be at baseline in 10 days to 2 weeks is a myth. Each patient (especially the younger patients) recover at different rates with no specified timeline. Most patients who sustain a concussion, if handled/treated in a timely and proper manner will recover with no long-term issues. The patient's well-being and safety should be the #1 priority, not how quickly the patient can return to the game.


Big Sky Sports Medicine and Athletic Training Conference, 2016 “Clinical Profiles and Targeted Evaluation and Active Management of Concussion: Summary of the 2015 TEAM Approach to Treating Concussion Meeting” Dr. Mickey Collins, PHD Heads Up Concussion Fact Sheet Long Term Effects of Head Trauma on Gait Performance” Dr. Steve Broglio, PHD Sports Concussions 101: The Current State of the Game, AAFP Webcast

About the author

Sarah Vlach