Beware: Concussions Can Lead to Long-Term Damage

From an interview with
Dr. Pat Denton
McLeod Orthopaedics – Florence

An estimated 1.6 to 3.8 million athletes annually suffer concussion, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute. Often, cases are underreported and undiagnosed. A study by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows the number of sports-related concussions is highest in high school athletes, but they are significant and on the rise in younger athletes. McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Pat Denton tells us more:

“A sports concussion frequently occurs in contact sports, such as football and soccer. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that requires proper treatment for full recovery. Most often, concussions do not result in loss of consciousness, but they do produce symptoms such as headache, nausea, dizziness, confusion, memory loss, and personality changes.

Any athlete that is suspected to have a concussion should not return to play. The effects usually subside within seven to 14 days, yet symptoms can last for months. Most athletes will fully recover, but their brain has to be given time to heal and be protected from further injury. The key to treatment is early recognition and delaying return to play. It is better to miss a few games than to miss the rest of your life.”

McLeod Health ImPACT Program

McLeod Sports Medicine uses a scientifically-validated concussion evaluation system to help spot concussions early and prevent long-term damage. The assessment tool – Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) – represents the first, most widely used tool to record an athlete’s baseline. The program measures cognitive function, attention, memory, reaction time and visual processing speed. Every level of competition from middle schools to the Olympics utilizes ImPACT testing.

If you suspect your athlete has a concussion, contact a sports medicine specialist near you.