Concussion in sports has received a lot of attention recently, and for good reasons. When an athlete sustains a concussion, it is imperative that he/she receive a complete evaluation by a trained medical provider who has experience with concussion management. Although most concussions are mild and do not involve loss of consciousness, most experts agree that there is no such thing as a “minor” head injury. All head injuries deserve expert evaluation so that athletes can return to sports quickly but safely.
How to Recognize a Concussion When it Occurs
A concussion temporarily alters an athlete’s mental and physical abilities. Some athletes lose consciousness after concussion, but most do not. The most common symptom of concussion include the following:
Nausea and vomiting
Loss of balance
Blurred vision or light sensitivity
Fatigue and lack of energy
Difficulty with concentration and memory
Feeling less organized
Slowed thinking or speech
If an athlete suffers a concussion, he or she should be evaluated by a physician with concussion management experience as soon as possible. Never return to play if you still experience any symptoms at rest or during any physical activity. Returning to play too soon can potentially be dangerous. Sustaining another concussion while still recovering from a previous one can cause serious life-long health difficulties. Return-to-play should occur in gradual steps and under the direction of qualified professionals. The effects of a concussion can be subtle and may only be detected by someone experienced in recognizing the signs and symptoms of concussion.We strive to see all concussed athletes within 24 hours of sustaining a concussion.
Dr. Fred Brennan, DO Dr. Brennan specializes in the medical aspects of athletic care and the full scope of non surgical musculoskeletal medicine. He has advanced training in post concussion medical care and, along with being the head physician of the UNH athletics, he works closely with the Wentworth-Douglass Rehabilitation Services team. Dr. Brennan also served 13 years in the Army where he evaluated and returned soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division and soldiers in Iraq safely back to duty.