From an interview with
Dr. Pat Denton
McLeod Orthopaedic 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. Dr. Pat Denton, McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon and Medical Director of McLeod Sports Medicine, shares more about this common sports injury.
“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 of this injury usually subside within 7-14 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.”
Healthcare providers, athletic trainers and coaches use concussion tests to evaluate brain function before and after a head injury. These tests all use a combination of verbal, written or computerized methods to check various brain functions.
Brain functions that are evaluated in concussion tests include:
Following a concussion, athletes of all ages are advised to undergo a series of steps before returning to play: rest, then light exercise and sport-specific training. Only then should they be cleared to resume contact drills.
Children who participate in sports learn values they carry with them throughout their lives, including discipline, teamwork and how to handle winning and losing. A few bumps and bruises are to be expected, but head injuries should never be ignored.
To learn more, speak with a sports medicine specialist near you.