What is a Concussion?
A concussion is an injury to the brain caused by rapid, forceful movement of the brain against the skull. It is usually caused by a bump or blow to the head, but it can also occur when the upper body is shaken violently.
Watch: An Athlete’s Take – What a Concussion Feels Like
What are the Signs of a Concussion?
- Headache or head “pressure”
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, or foggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Just not “feeling right” or “feeling down”
There are many myths about concussions. For example, one common myth is that you have to get knocked out to have a concussion. Another myth is that student athletes need to rest throughout the entire concussion recovery period. Get the facts. Play the video below to hear our concussion expert, Dr. Javier Cárdenas, debunk common concussion myths.
Watch: Dr. Javier Cárdenas Dispels Concussion Myths
When to See a Doctor for Concussion
If your student athlete sustains a concussion in a school sport, they should be closely followed by the school’s athletic trainer. It is important to maintain open communication with the trainer throughout your student athlete’s recovery. Some athletes will recover on their own without any therapies or medications. However, if your student athlete has a history of concussions, or severe or worsening symptoms, the trainer may recommend further evaluation by a concussion expert.
- Decreased awareness of surroundings
- Difficulty waking from sleep
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe or worsening headache
- Slurred speech
To request an appointment with one of our concussion experts, please call 1-877-756-4240.
How do I Know if my Student Athlete Needs Imaging Tests?
Not everyone with a concussion needs a CT or MRI scan. If your student athlete is evaluated in an emergency room due to the symptoms listed above, the ER physician may order a CT scan to check for a brain bleed.
A physician may order an MRI if your student athlete seems to be getting worse instead of better, recovery is taking longer than expected, or your student athlete is experiencing symptoms that are not typically seen with a concussion.
Watch: An Athlete’s Take – The Concussion Recovery Process
What Treatments are Available for Concussion?
- Balance therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
What Rehabilitation Services Does Barrow Offer?
The Outpatient Concussion Rehabilitation Program at Barrow offers comprehensive therapy services that are tailored to meet your student athlete’s needs. We place a specific focus on returning to sports, work, school, driving, and other community activities. Our program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to excellent care.
- Balance retraining, vestibular rehabilitation, and sensory integration training
- Cognitive retraining, information processing, and organization
- Community resources and information
- Sport-specific exercises
- Work simulation
- Return-to-driving training
- Return-to-education training
- Assistance in academic or work accommodations
What Should my Student Athlete Expect in Concussion Rehabilitation?
Concussion patients are typically evaluated by physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Each therapist will assess the patient and, if needed, provide recommendations for ongoing therapy. Most patients attend therapy once or twice per week for 6 to 12 weeks.
- Performance of work functions
- Performance of school functions
- Participation in sports
- Driving performance
- Performance of work and school functions
- Reaction time
- Upper extremity and grip strength
- Vision (ocular motor control, ocular alignment, visual-perceptual skills)
- Frustration tolerance
- Performance of work and school functions
- Processing speed
- Time management
- Word finding
Watch: Christian Kirk’s Take – The Role of Brainbook
Barrow Brainbook – Concussion Prevention and Education
Education is the best way to increase awareness. Barrow Brainbook is the nation’s first mandated education and testing module for student athletes. Under this program, Arizona became the first in the United States to mandate all high school student athletes undergo concussion education and pass a formal test before play. The education is mandated through the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA). In addition, schools outside of Arizona have begun to adopt Brainbook. To date, more than 1 million students have completed Brainbook.
Barrow Brainbook is part of the Barrow Concussion Network, which also provides baseline concussion testing and telemedicine. Since its inception, more than 400 athletic training consultations have taken place as a result of sidelines telemedicine. The technology can connect the network’s medical team with players in real time, including during a game immediately after an athlete sustains a hard hit to the head.
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