From an interview with
Dr. Nathan Gasque
McLeod Orthopaedics Seacoast
Concussions are traumatic brain injuries. They occur in a wide range of sports and affect athletes at every level, from little leaguers to the pros. McLeod Sports Medicine physician Dr. Nathan Gasque shares how he and his team diagnose, treat and care for athletes with concussions and help them get back in the game.
The official definition of concussion in simple terms is, after a traumatic event to the head, we have a change in mental status or associated neurological symptoms. Symptoms can include things such as headache, dizziness, vision changes, and change in behavior. Sometimes people describe that as feeling in a fog. You can have some confusion. You can have worsening mental health issues, whether that means anxiety or depression. You can also feel very fatigued.
There are a couple assessment tools we use. First off, there are paper assessment tools. These are often done on the sideline by a trainer or when the patient comes into the clinical room. There are also handy online tools that we’re now using on computer and on phone apps. With these online tools, they may include things such as symptom analysis. They may include visual motor analysis. It may also track your reflexes as well as your memory. In addition to all those, you can include visual motor analysis, and you also do balance tests as well. We’re going to definitely pull patients from any high impact activities that would put them at risk of a second impact.
There are several tips for preventing concussions in general. First, you want to just practice safe play, which could include appropriate equipment, playing by the rules, making sure you have appropriate medical professionals around, as well as coaches. Research has shown just taking care of yourself, whether that means proper sleep, nutrition and getting appropriate rest, can go a long way as far as not only being focused and ready for play, but also being in the right mental capacity to be able to take impacts as well.
To learn more, speak with a sports medicine physician near you.