Sunday, September 04, 2011

5 things athletes should know about concussions

5 things athletes should know about concussions...Dr Rotenberg in the news....

As summer comes to an end, thousands of young athletes head back to the field for football, cheerleading and other sports. And the question is posed – who is paying attention to their heads?
The bad news: there are approximately 3.8 million sport and recreation-related concussions in the United States each year.
The good news: Texas law (as of Aug. 1) now requires school districts to make sure children get the standard of neurologic care required to limit the long-term damage concussions can impose.
According to the new law, districts must establish a “concussion management team” that includes at least one physician, and any student-athlete showing symptoms of concussion must be removed from competition and not may not return until evaluated by the physician and at least one other member of that team.

The University Interscholastic League threw in its two cents to the law by adding a rule that also went into effect Aug. 1 stating that high school athletes competing in a University Interscholastic League-sanctioned sport are no longer allowed to return to games or practices on the same day they are injured.

“Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury,” said Dr. Joshua Rotenberg, pediatric neurologist and medical director of Stone Oak-based Texas Medical and Sleep Specialists, in a press release.

“While the state guidelines are excellent and exceedingly important,” he added.

“They don't replace a parent's keen eye and gut intuition. Parents need to know what to look for and what to do if a child is injured during a game on or off the field.” Rotenberg offered the following tips to identify and properly treat this type of traumatic brain injury.

Remove the athlete from play. Look for signs and symptoms of a concussion if your athlete has experienced a bump or blow to the head or body. Early brain and body rest will speed recovery.

Know the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Some of the common symptoms children, teens and young adults may experience include, but are not limited to:
  • Appearing dazed, stunned or confused
  • Forgetting sports plays
  • Moving clumsily, slowly or hesitantly
  • Answering questions or thinking slowly
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to recall events before or after the hit or fall
  • Headache or “pressure” in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light and noise

Be proactive. If you notice changes in behavior, seek immediate medical attention. You can't see a concussion and some athletes may not experience symptoms until hours or even days after an injury.

Follow a step-wise process prior to returning to play. Although most concussions are mild in nature, it is still important to proceed with caution. Consider having your child evaluated by a specialist in all aspects of head injuries.

Don't dismiss too quickly. Post concussive syndrome, which may include headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to light, can last for up to a year or more after the injury and is not associated with the severity of the initial injury. If these persistent symptoms appear immediately or weeks or months after the injury, take your child to see a specialist.
According to Rotenberg, most people with a concussion will recover quickly and fully. But for some people, the signs and symptoms of concussion can last for days, weeks or longer.

Because some neurologic abnormalities can only be detected by specialists, Rotenberg said pediatric neurologists might recommend a neuropsychological evaluation in addition to a specialized neurologic examination.
Texas Medical and Sleep Specialists may be reached at 249-5020 or for more information.

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