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.
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
Learn more about the signs and symptoms of a concussion and what to do if you suspect a concussion by downloading our wallet card.
- 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.
Treatment for a Concussion
Giving 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 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.
Computerized Concussion Testing
- A sophisticated, research based computer test developed to help physicians diagnosis and treat concussions from the field through recovery
- Same test used in most professional and collegiate sports such as the NFL, MLB, NCAA and more
- The 20-minute neurocognitive test measures verbal and visual memory, attention span, brain processing speed and reaction time
- Comparison between baseline and post-injury scores assist with athlete’s readiness to return to play
- Can be used with the baseline test or compared to normative data with no baseline
If you feel your athlete or child has suffered a concussion, care is just around the corner at one of our convenient community locations.
Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
Sports Medicine Center
8700 Watertown Plank Road
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
North Hills Health Center
W129 N7055 Northfield Drive B-400
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
Hartford Health Center
West Bend Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center
110 Lone Oak Lane
Hartford, WI 53027
1190 E. Paradise Drive
West Bend, WI 53095
West Bend Health Center
1700 W. Paradise Drive
West Bend, WI 53095
Westbook Health Center
2315 E. Moreland Blvd.
Waukesha, WI 53186
For Physician Referral
If 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.