Looking at some of the high profile sporting events recently, there has been the usual array of ankle injuries, muscle cramps, bumps, bruises, and concussions. Concussions? In the case of head injuries to high profile athletes, concussions have increasingly become newsworthy injuries, largely because they have the potential to affect a player’s availability in the playoffs, both in the NBA and the NFL, just to name a few.
So where is all this talk about concussions coming from? We never heard much about them even a few short years ago. I remember getting my “bell rung” when I was a young athlete. That’s what we called it then, along with “seeing stars” or “getting the “snot knocked out of you.” But I don’t remember ever getting a “concussion.” At least, nobody used that word. And I don’t mean that I sustained a concussion or that it involved amnesia, a serious sign of concussion. But I do mean we just didn’t call head injuries concussions. We didn’t know that’s what they were.
Enlightenment can come slowly. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago people used the word “heartburn” for just about every digestive disorder, and antacids were popped like candy. But now, we can accurately diagnose Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and successfully treat it.
In many ways, concussions have followed that same path. By definition, a concussion is a type of traumatic head injury. Typically, it is a temporary head injury. It can be caused by a direct blow to the head or a sudden violent movement of the head (imagine a whiplash-type motion). The symptoms can range from a headache, to amnesia, loss of consciousness, poor concentration, poor balance, depression, anxiety and mood swings. Every concussion is different. Some may resolve in a matter of days, while others might take weeks or months.
We’ve also learned more about the effects of concussion specific to age groups. We know teenagers are more susceptible to concussions than adults. Just as important, we know they are generally slower to heal in teenagers. And perhaps most importantly, we know that repeated head injuries following a concussion can prolong the time it takes to resolve the injury, in some cases, leading to devastating results.
So yes, concussions have always been around. And no, they weren’t recognized as much as they are today. But are they really the most common sports injury?
As a physician, I’d like to qualify concussions this way: They are among the most common injuries. And they are more common than people realize. Are they serious? Absolutely!
At Impact Urgent Care we offer state of the art concussion care and management. We are the only certified practice in San Antonio offering the same type of concussion testing as the NFL, professional baseball, NASCAR, and professional soccer. In fact, we take care of the Scorpions and the Talons. And because we take concussions seriously and have a history of being dedicated to concussion diagnosis, treatment and management, we also are the only practice that has, and continues to offer, the baseline testing, so critical to effective concussion management. At no cost. Let me repeat that: At no cost.
Concussions are not visible by a CT scan, an MRI or X-Ray. But studies have confirmed the use of computerized neurocognitive testing as the gold standard in concussion management. We use this testing modality to obtain a baseline study of the young athlete. Should the athlete suffer a head injury, we can then retest the injured patient and compare the “before” and “after” information to help direct the individual care we are then able to offer.
Come by or schedule the 25-minute, non-invasive baseline test, using our online check-in system. It’s easy. No needles, no radiation, no risk. This one simple step can dramatically improve resolving concussion injuries – which are far more common than most people realize.