Each year more than 170,000 children and teens are treated in an emergency department for sports or recreation-related traumatic brain injuries, including concussions.
A concussion is the result of a blow or jolt to the head or hit to the body that causes the head and brain to rapidly move back and forth. This sudden movement can makes the brain bounce or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.
“Athletes suspected of having a concussion need to be monitored at all times,” said Dr. Marianne Sturr, the medical director of Bacharach’s brain injury program. “It is important to monitor the subtle changes of a concussion, which can sometimes be missed.”
Signs of a concussion include: vision problems, nausea, tiredness, dizziness, headache, moodiness, and balance problems.
Most high schools have begun to perform pre-season Impact testing on all their athletes. The Impact test establishes a baseline reading at the beginning of the season. This baseline test can used for comparison and can help diagnose a concussion if an athlete subsequently sustains a hit to the head.
“Concussions need aggressive treatment,” said Dr. Sturr. “You don’t want to re-injure the brain during the healing phase which is usually 7 to 10 days or it could escalate to a moderate brain injury. The younger the athletes are, the higher the risk of damage because their brains are still developing.”
New concussion laws are protecting New Jersey athletes. Recently, state legislators broadened protections for high school athletes who participate in intramural or recreational sports. Intramural and recreational athletes will now be included in the state’s athlete head-injury safety program. This means that coaches and trainers will have to undergo special head injury and concussion diagnosis training and that athletes suspected of having a concussion must be pulled from the activity until they are cleared by a physician.
Most concussions resolve on their own in a matter of days or weeks. In cases where the symptoms persist and interfere with school and other activities, Bacharach’s concussion therapists can offer variety of treatments such as vestibular therapy for balance issues, cognitive therapy for inattention and physical therapy for strength and musculoskeletal issues.
For more information on Bacharach’s Concussion Program call 609-652-7000.
The Press of Atlantic City featured an editorial on Wednesday, October 4th highlighting the serious effects of a concussion.