Most of you have now seen the highlight of Ben Roethlisberger’s head smashing the turf in yesterday’s game. This play will give much needed attention to head sports injuries. The Center for Disease Control attributes 20% of brain injury to athletics. This is > 300,000 brain injuries per year. Here at Advanced Care Physical Therapy we do not specifically treat concussions. I believe it is still a very important subject because most concussions are unrecognized, under diagnosed or misdiagnosed.
All it takes is one blow to the head to cause problems with: coordination and balance, impaired decision making, failed memory and personality changes. Most athletes return to their sport too soon. The second blow to a head, when the athlete has not yet recovered from the first injury, can create greater problems and the possibility of long lasting problems. Symptoms of concussions may include: headaches, confusion, disorientation, ringing in the ear, dizziness, amnesia, irritability, hyperexcitability, loss of consciousness, unsteadiness, confusion, slurred speech and nausea.
One standard assesment evaluation is the SCAT card. SCAT stands for, Sport Concussion Assesment Tool. This may be administered by trained coaches or trained medical personel. After any signs of a concussion, an athlete should: not return to a current practice or game, be evaluated by a medical doctor, not be left alone or be allowed to drive, be monitored closely the athlete 24-48 hours after injury for signs of deteriorating mental status. Deteriorating mental status could indicate a more serious brain injury requiring immediate hospitalization.
Returning to one’s sport should follow a standard protocol. This should be medically supervised and return to sport is usually a minimum of seven days.
So next time you see someone get their bell rung, make sure they get the proper medical attention.
Ted Vlahoyiannis P.T.