Assessment and Management
Those directly involved in playing sports – athletes, parents, and coaches, should be relegated to RECOGNIZE signs and symptoms of a concussion head injury, while those responsible for the decision for return to play and managing concussed athletes should be left to appropriate licensed healthcare professionals with formal training and experience in managing sports concussions where doing so falls within their scope of practice and state licensure.
No athlete under the age of 19 should be allowed to return to play while presenting with any SYMPTOMS of a potential head injury (McCrory, 2008).
A comprehensive assessment and subsequent diagnosis of head injury is relegated to medical and allied healthcare professionals with advanced formal training in managing concussions with a thorough undertanding of:
- Brain (neural) function, particularly cognitive function
- Protocols for acute and post-injury assessments
- Utilization of neurocognitive assessment and interpretation of scores
- Appropriate Medical Referral guidelines
- Neuro-Imaging role in assessing concussion injury
- Treatment and Care regimens, both acutely and during post-injury recovery
- Protocol for step-wise progression for Return to Play
- Concussion epidemiology and injury prevention interventions
Central Nervous System Functions
Sensory: Vision, Hearing, Smell, Tactile sensation
Motor: Voluntary Movement
- Short-term memory centers
- Reaction Time
- Attention Span
- Processing Speed
Neuro-Imaging: Computer Tomography (CT) & standard Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- instruments that study brain structure, identifying pathologic changes
- Imaging studies are helpful in assessing intracranial bleeding which is typically associated with only the most severe form of head injuries, i.e. subdural, epidural hematomes.
- Imaging is indicated acutely where unconsciousness, crescendo headaches, or vomitting (projectile) is noted.