It’s time for another Austin-area sports medicine 101 class!
Concussions are one of the most common and most difficult sports injuries to manage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1.6 million and 3.8 million brain injuries occur in sports each year, with around 63,000 affecting high school athletes. With recent advances in neuroscience, sports medicine clinicians are discovering new and better methods to protect brain health.
Sports concussion experts agree that the diagnosis of acute concussion usually involves the assessment of a range of domains, including clinical symptoms, physical signs, behavior, balance, sleep and cognition. The Medicine in Motion team uses special computerized testing to evaluate whether an athlete is suffering from a concussion. This tool, in combination with a physician evaluation, is the best way to determine the presence of a concussion and when it is resolved, thereby allowing an athlete to return to play.
“The absolute best way to manage concussions is to have baseline testing prior to the start of a sports season,” said Dr. Martha Pyron, owner of Medicine in Motion. “If a head injury does occur, we then repeat the test for comparison. By doing this, there is a unique and direct comparison from healthy brain to concussion for the clinician to evaluate.”
When to use concussion testing?
- Athletes involved in contact sports (such as football) should have a baseline test before the season begins.
- Athletes incurring an injury should be evaluated, regardless of whether or not they received a baseline test.
- Anyone who has had repeated concussions in the past should be tested to determine the possibility of any long term complications.
- Non-sports participants that receive head injuries should also be tested to evaluate cognitive abilities.
- Parents of athletes should have their children baseline tested every other year until they reach adulthood to ensure their brains are protected.