Keep Your HEAD in the GAME

Managing sports concussions properly
can prevent long-term damage.

*Photo credit: Robert F. Bukaty, Maine high school football panel develops four-class proposal: http://bangordailynews.com/2012/05/30/sports/footb...

Sometimes, just watching a football tackle can make your head hurt. And all those hard hits can take a toll on even the best athletes in the form of concussions. "A concussion occurs when the brain moves forcefully inside the skull, resulting in temporary impairment of overall neurological function," says J. Britten Shroyer, MD, Sports Medicine Orthopaedic Surgeon, University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

While there are ways to reduce the risk of concussion by wearing proper-fitting helmets, athletes may not be able to avoid them entirely. Here, our experts answer some common questions about this injury.

QUESTION: How is a concussion diagnosed?

ANSWER: "A concussion is often assessed on the sidelines by a coach or team physician asking a series of questions that can help evaluate orientation, memory and ability to concentrate," Dr. Shroyer says. "We grade them on a scale of 1 to 3. In some cases, a physician may perform a CT scan to check for a brain bleed, which could require surgery."

QUESTION: What are the treatment options?

ANSWER: If the concussion is significant, brain rest may be recommended.  "Typically that requires no school-work or screen time for a few days to a week, depending on the severity of the concussion," says Dan Ellenberger, Director of the EMS Training & Disaster Preparedness Institute at UH Ahuja Medical Center.

QUESTION: When is it safe to start playing again?

ANSWER: Athletes shouldn't return to play until they are fully recovered and a physician releases them, Ellenberger says, "After that we do a graduated return to activity to test how players are doing until they are able to fully return to their sport," Ellenberger explains. "This helps minimize the chance of multiple concussions."

Source: myUHAhujacare- Fall 2014- Keep Your Head in the Game