A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function and causes temporary cognitive and physical problems. Concussions need medical evaluation, whether from a certified athletic trainer, sports medicine physician, primary care physician or emergency room physician. If concussions are not properly treated, complications can result, including permanent damage.
At Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, our experienced and dedicated team of sports medicine physicians, certified athletic trainers and neuropsychologists provide the highest quality care when athletes are sidelined due to a suspected concussion.
Athletes, parents, coaches and officials are invited to learn more about sport-related concussions during a free concussion event Tuesday July 30, from 5 p.m.-8 p.m.
The event will feature Green Bay legend Dorsey Levens and medical experts from Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Learn more and register for the event
What is a Concussion?Concussions usually happen with impact to the head or body – a blow, bump, or jolt, for example. Because of the sudden change of direction or speed, the brain continues to move while the rest of the head doesn’t. The result is stretching of neurons, and other microscopic damage to the brain.
Concussions symptoms may include:
- Physical: Headache, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, glassy eyes, light or noise sensitivity
- Cognitive/thinking: Repetitive questions, confusion, poor concentration, fogginess, memory problems
- Emotional: Irritable, overly aggressive, restless, combative, moody
- Fatigue: Changes in sleep habits; difficulty sleeping
Treatment for a ConcussionGiving the brain time to rest is vital to treating a concussion. If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, that athlete cannot return to play for the rest of the day. In order to heal, the brain requires more resources than the body can provide. Resting from stimulating activities – such as TV, computer use, video games, texting and reading – is a common restriction. Even attending games or practices may be too stimulating to allow the brain to rest and heal. Sleep, diet and hydration also play a part in recovering from a concussion.
Physical activity can prolong symptoms and increase the risk of another impact. Athletes must be removed from play and kept from physical activity until they have been medically cleared. “Second Impact Syndrome,” where a second concussion occurs before the first has healed, can lead to permanent brain injury.
Every concussion is different, and we work with each patient to design an individual plan for modifications and a gradual return to play and other normal activities. We understand what it means to be out of the game and that athletes want to return to play as soon as possible. But, we want to avoid the serious risks of returning to play too quickly.
Baseline TestsBaseline cognitive tests, such as ImPACT® or Axon, can be helpful tools in evaluating a patient with a concussion. But, such tests are not a substitute for a comprehensive physical exam by a highly trained physician.
Where to Find UsIn addition to emergency care and the Sports Medicine Center at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin, concussion care is offered at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin Westbrook Health Center in Waukesha. Concussion clinic patients receive an initial assessment by a certified athletic trainer, and then can be seen by one of our highly trained physicians.
For Physician ReferralIf you think you or someone you know may have a concussion, call us at 1-800-DOCTORS to find a physician who specializes in concussion care.
Some Concussion Facts
- Most concussions DO NOT involve a loss of consciousness.
- Concussions can result from any sport or activity.
- If you have had one concussion, you are at significantly higher risk of having another. Symptoms are worse with each additional concussion.
- MRIs and CT scans cannot diagnose a concussion.
- Adolescents get concussions more often and take longer to heal than adults.
- 40% of teens admit to lying about their concussion symptoms.
Last Review Date: June 26, 2013
Online Editor(s): Kathryn Adam