The Sports Concussion Program at the Slocum Center for Orthopedics and Sports Medicine offers a comprehensive approach to the evaluation of sports-related concussions in youth, high school, and college athletes. We have developed a program that emphasizes the significance of recognizing and properly diagnosing sports-related concussions. We also design individualized Return to Activity Plans to allow for safe return to sports and other activities following a concussion.
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 300,000 sports concussions among children and adolescents each year in the United States. It is usually caused by a blow to the head but may occur with a whiplash injury or when the head strikes the ground. Only about 5-10% of people are knocked unconscious with a concussion. Most are confused, dazed, or complain of a headache.
The past decade has seen a revolution in the management of sports-related concussions. What was once considered a relatively benign condition is now recognized as a critical medical issue with distressing, potentially permanent consequences. Having one’s “bell rung” or being “dinged” has far more serious consequences than previously suspected. Until recently, there were more than 20 different protocols physicians could use to evaluate and manage concussions. In 2008, an international conference on sports concussions was held in Zurich. The aim of the symposium was to provide recommendations that would improve the care for athletes who sustained concussions through participation in sports. The delegates attending the conference redefined concussions and established guidelines for the evaluation, treatment, management, and prevention of the injury.