Why Concussion Management Is So Important

Health & Wellness • N E W S L E T T E R •

Why Concussion Management is so Important

What do you want more athletes and coaches to understand about concussions?

in high school and during a game, I was jumping for a rebound and got undercut by another player. I landed on my back and hit my head on the court. While I didn’t lose consciousness, I remember feeling very disoriented. At the time, the ‘treatment’ was ‘hold some ice on your head.’ That’s all I did. Now, if I evaluated an athlete who went through that same scenario, I would suspect at least a mild concussion occurred and treat them as such. What do you think is the most common misconception about concussions? A big misconception is that one massive hit is the only thing that causes a concussion. Something like a car crash or a football tackle. With that perception, if an athlete gets a few seemingly minor hits in a soccer game or a basketball game, they don’t think they have a chance at suffering a concussion so they don’t report it. Instead, they keep playing which can be very dangerous. It’s important for athletes, parents and coaches to understand that while yes, one big hit can cause a concussion; multiple small impacts can also cause one to

occur. These smaller impacts can still cause symptoms like headaches, trouble concentrating, and behavioral changes. When athletes and parents understand that a concussion can begin frommultiple smaller impacts, they start taking note of those during games and practices which helps with early recognition. Why do you think it’s so important to have a program specific to concussion management? Education is a big piece of our program. We educate the athlete and their parents and we want to give coaches, athletic trainers and the general public the tools they need to recognize when a concussion occurs so the athlete is not putting themselves in potential danger for further injury by continuing to play. A concussion is a bruise on your brain. It affects a person’s performance on the field and in the classroom. Our Concussion Management Program addresses both these areas and monitors the athlete’s symptoms so that they are not returning to either before their brain can handle it.

1. I want them to understand the importance of early recognition. The sooner Our Concussion Management Program can begin, the quicker the athlete can safely return full force to their sport. 2. I want coaches to understand that the athlete’s safety is the priority – not winning. I know pulling your star player or any player is never easy but coaches need to listen to their players; observe changes in their behavior on and off the field and don’t ignore those changes, even if they appear minor. 3. I want athletes to know that if they suspect a concussion, they need to report it. That’s regardless of how disappointed you think your coach might be for needing to sit out of the game. Your brain has potentially been bruised and you need to get medical attention. Wishing you well this month and always, Tricia Walker, ATC

TriciaWalker is a Certified Athletic Trainer at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center. She also leads our Concussion Management Program and has helped many Loudoun County athletes return to school, activities and sports safely following a concussion. What is a concussion? A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that can alter the way the brain functions. Concussions can occur from direct or indirect impact to the skull or brain. Haveyoueverhadaconcussion? If you asked me the same question back when I was in high school, I probably would have said no. But now, knowing what I do about a concussion, my answer is yes, I have had a concussion. I played basketball

Concussion Q and A: Why is it important to see a medical professional following a concussion? Brain injuries can lead to negative long term effects, especially when the brain is still growing. It is important for you to be seen by a medical professional like a Certified Athletic Trainer for proper evaluation and care to limit further issues. Early intervention can decrease or prevent long term problems.

What can happen if I return to activity too soon? If you return to activity too soon, a few things can happen. You can develop symptoms that last several weeks or months following the original injury because it never fully healed. In some of the worst case scenarios, second impact syndrome can occur. This syndrome occurs when you receive a second hit following a concussion that did not fully heal.

How long will it take for me to heal? It is important to understand that everyone heals differently. Recovery time can span anywhere from a few days to months and sometimes longer if not treated properly early on. The sooner you get care, and have a treatment plan, the better chance you have at recovery.

21251 Ridgetop Circle Suite #140, Sterling, VA 20166 www.LoudounSportsTherapy.com 703-450-4300


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