What is a sports-related concussion?

A sports-related concussion, formerly a mild traumatic brain injury, is a brain traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces. Common causes include a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body that causes a violent shaking of the head. Concussions are common when playing a contact sport, such as football. 

What are symptoms?

Sometimes people have a concussion and do not realize it, because they have no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they may start minutes or hours after trauma is experienced. The effects are generally temporary, but can include headaches, difficulty concentrating, loss of memory, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Some concussions cause loss of consciousness. Concussion symptoms resolve spontaneously.

How is it treated?

Most people usually recover fully after a concussion. Those who have persistent symptoms may need further evaluation and treatment from a sports medicine provider. At the Ryan Center, treatment options include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Referral to a vestibular rehabilitation specialist. Available at the Ryan Center, a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular rehabilitation creates an individualized exercise program to help someone who’s experiencing symptoms from a concussion to improve balance and reduce dizziness-related problems.
  • Manual PT 
  • Speech language pathologist. Speech therapists are experts in treating patients who are having difficulty with memory, concentration, listening, and other cognitive functions. They play an important role in helping many concussion patients improve their focus, memory, and mental quickness. Speech therapists who specialize in cognitive rehabilitation can work with patients to effectively identify areas of cognitive difficulty and put in place an individualized treatment plan.
  • Neuropsychiatric testing