Rec­og­niz­ing a con­cus­sion — signs and symp­toms

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - By John R. Mishock, PT, DPT, DC Dr. Mishock is one of only a few clin­i­cians with doc­tor­ate level de­grees in both phys­i­cal therapy and chi­ro­prac­tic in the state of Penn­syl­va­nia.

There are more than 4 mil­lion con­cus­sions dur­ing com­pet­i­tive sports, with up to 50 per­cent go­ing un­re­ported or un­di­ag­nosed.

A con­cus­sion is a trau­matic brain in­jury caused by bump, blow or jolt to the head. It also can be caused by quick move­ments of the head back and forth. In ei­ther event, the brain bounces around in the skull, caus­ing small amounts of dam­age to the brain struc­ture.

It is es­sen­tial that coaches, train­ers and par­ents be able to iden­tify the signs and symp­toms of a con­cus­sion.

Signs and symp­toms of a con­cus­sion

Th­ese are signs a par­ent or coach can ob­serve in an athlete with a con­cus­sion: ap­pears dazed or stunned, for­gets an in­struc­tion or is con­fused, moves clum­sily, an­swers ques­tions slowly, loses con­scious­ness (even briefly), shows mood or per­son­al­ity changes, can’t re­call events prior to the in­jury.

Th­ese are symp­toms an in­di­vid­ual will report to a par­ent or coach with a con­cus­sion: headache, dizzi­ness, difficulty with bal­ance, nau­sea/vom­it­ing, fa­tigue, difficulty sleep­ing, dou­ble or blurred vi­sion, sen­si­tiv­ity to light and sound, difficulty with short-term or long-term mem­ory, con­fu­sion, slowed “pro­cess­ing” (for in­stance, a de­creased abil­ity to think through prob­lems), “fog­gi­ness,” sif­fi­culty with con­cen­tra­tion.

What should a par­ent or coach do if there are signs and symp­toms of a con­cus­sion?

1. Re­move the child or teen from the game or ac­tiv­ity im­me­di­ately.

2. Keep the in­di­vid­ual out of all ac­tiv­i­ties that day.

3. Take the child to be seen by a health care provider for eval­u­a­tion.

4. Re­turn to play should be de­ter­mined by the health care provider.

5. Ask your health care provider for writ­ten re­turn to ac­tiv­ity in­struc­tions to be pro­vided for the coach or school as they re­turn to ac­tiv­ity.

6. Do not judge the sever­ity of the con­cus­sion your­self. Only a health care provider should as­sess and make the de­ter­mi­na­tion on when and how to re­turn back to nor­mal ac­tiv­ity.

How can a phys­i­cal ther­a­pist help?

Phys­i­cal ther­a­pists can eval­u­ate and treat many prob­lems re­lated to con­cus­sion.

Af­ter a con­cus­sion, it is im­por­tant to limit any kind of ex­er­tion. In most cases rest from ac­tiv­ity will al­low the brain to heal. How­ever, in some cases, the in­di­vid­ual does not re­spond to rest alone.

Be­cause ev­ery con­cus­sion presents dif­fer­ently, the phys­i­cal ther­a­pist’s ex­am­i­na­tion is es­sen­tial to as­sess your in­di­vid­ual symp­toms and func­tional lim­i­ta­tions. The phys­i­cal ther­a­pist then de­signs a treat­ment pro­gram.

Mishock PT also of­fers Im­PACT test­ing. This is a neu­rocog­ni­tive com­put­er­ized test that pro­vides a base­line for the athlete or a post-treat­ment out­come tool for those ath­letes be­ing treated for a con­cus­sion.

We can help!

If pain is lim­it­ing you from do­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties you en­joy, give Mishock Phys­i­cal Therapy a call for a free phone con­sul­ta­tion at 610327-2600 or email your ques­tions to mishockpt@com­ Visit our web­site at to learn more about our treat­ment phi­los­o­phy and our phys­i­cal therapy staff.

Sched­ule your ap­point­ment to­day at one of our six con­ve­nient lo­ca­tions in Gil­bertsville, Skip­pack, Phoenixville, Barto, Lim­er­ick and Stowe (Pottstown).

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