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CONCUSSION: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

What is it and what causes it? Concussion in sports involves a complex process whereby trauma induced to the body or head creates abnormalities in processing of the brain. While most people believe that a concussion requires a direct hit to the head, many athletes can develop a concussion even from blows to the body, which involve a sudden acceleration or deceleration force. An estimated 3.8 million concussions occur in the US during recreational and competitive play with many more going unreported.

What are the symptoms of concussion? The symptoms from a concussion are extremely variable and no one concussion is the same as another. Many athletes will experience headache, fogginess, dizziness, sleep difficulties, irritability, and difficulty concentrating just to name a few. Unfortunately, the symptoms of dizziness and fogginess can be associated with a longer time to recover completely.

Who is at risk of a concussion? Unfortunately some athletes may be a greater risk for a experiencing a concussion. Younger athletes, female athletes, athletes with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD) as well as those who have experienced a previous concussion are at greatest risk for experiencing a concussion.

How are concussions treated? This area of sports medicine continues to evolve and clinicians are changing the way concussions are managed. With appropriate history, physical examination, and testing, clinicians are better able to gear specific treatment strategies towards an athlete’s symptoms. While 90% of athletes will recover from a concussion in 3-4 weeks with relative rest and modifying aggravating activities, the other 10% may need dedicated rehabilitation strategies to help them overcome symptoms. Once an athlete is symptom free, they can begin a graded exercise program that helps return them back to the sport safely.

At SARASOTA ORTHOPEDIC ASSOCIATES we have physicians who are trained at identifying high school athletic concussions and are able to recommend appropriate treatments, which will help them get back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.

PAUL LENTO, MD / FAAPMR (click here for more on Dr Lento) / Triple Board Certified in Physical Medicine and Sports Rehabilitation

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