Overview

When to See a Doctor for a Concussion

When to See a Doctor for a Concussion

If you think you or someone you love may have a concussion, it's important to watch for concussion signs and symptoms. Get to a doctor immediately if you have any of the symptoms below.

Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion

To help recognize a concussion, you should watch for these two things:

  1. a forceful blow to the head or body that causes the head to move quickly, and
  2. any change in the person’s behavior, thinking, or physical functioning (body movements).

Signs of a Concussion

  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused and unsure
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows behavior or personality changes

Concussion Symptoms

  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not feel right

Anyone who experiences any of these signs or symptoms after a bump or blow to the head should be seen by a health care professional who has experience evaluating concussions. Signs and symptoms of concussion can last from several minutes to days, weeks, months, or even longer in some cases.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is an injury that changes how the cells in the brain normally work. It’s caused by a blow to the head or body that causes the brain to move quickly inside the skull. Even what seems to be a mild bump or blow to the head can be serious.

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Concussions can also happen after a fall or if players collide with each other or with

obstacles, even if they don't directly hit their head. The potential for concussions is greatest in athletic environments where collisions are common.

Concussions can happen, however, in any organized or unorganized sport or recreational activity. As many as 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions happen in the United States each year.

Find a Concussion Specialist

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Concussion Program

Our sports Concussion Program focuses on examining patients who might have a concussion from a sports-related injury. Some patients may also need additional care after a concussion. 

If needed, we can also provide recommendations and referrals for:

  • headaches and neck pain,
  • speech therapy for cognitive rehabilitation,
  • physical therapy for vestibular or balance rehabilitation,
  • occupational therapy for vision rehabilitation,
  • neuro-ophthalmologists for unique visual disturbances, and
  • radiologists when imaging studies are needed.

Baseline Concussion Testing for Athletes

If you're an athlete, coach, or a physical trainer for an athlete, we offer baseline concussion testing before the start of the athletic season.

Doctors can use an athlete's baseline concussion testing results to see if that athlete may have a concussion after an injury or trauma.

What Is a Baseline Test for a Concussion?

Baseline concussion testing records an athlete's normal cognitive and physical skills, including the following:

  • memory & problem-solving skills
  • attention span
  • reaction time
  • balance
  • visual performance
  • muscle coordination
  • other skills

By measuring an athlete's normal performance before a sports season starts, doctors can compare these recordings after a sports season is over (or even after a single game) to see if an athlete may have a concussion. 

Baseline testing can also help doctors identify athletes who have higher chances of getting a concussion, and help these athletes and their coaches create injury prevention strategies.

Types of Concussion Baseline Testing

There are several types of baseline testing. They include the following tests:

ImPACT Test: computerized, neurocognitive assessment test that measures attention span, memory, reaction time, and problem-solving skills

COBALT Balance Assessment: a dynamic test that challenges a variety of balance systems inside the body. It also measures an athlete's sensitivity to visual motions. This tests uses force plate sway data to provide information on an athlete's balance.

BESS Testing: this test measures an athlete's sensory and vestibular systems. It measures how good an athlete's balance is when she's standing still with her eyes closed.

Vestibular/Oculomotor Screen: group of tests that examine how well an athlete's eyes can track and work together. These tests also measure the vestibular ocular reflex and whether the brain can suppress this reflex when needed.

King-Devick Test: this test measures eye tracking speed and accuracy

Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS): this is a self-reported scale that measures the severity of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and concussions. This scale asks patients who've had a concussion 22 questions. These questions ask about a variety of symptoms including cervicogenic, vestibular, vision, sleep, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.

Neck Disability Index (NDI): this is another self-reported survey that measures pain and functional limitations. The survey asks 10 questions and ask patients to rate their responses on a scale from 0—5. Health care providers use this scale to diagnose and treat mechanical neck pain, whiplash, and whiplash associated disorder (WAD).

Locations & Pricing

All baseline tests are performed at two locations:

  1. University Orthopaedic Center 
  2. Sugar House Rehabilitation Center

Call 801-587-7109 to schedule a test at the University Orthopaedic Center.

Call 801-581-2221 to schedule a test at the Sugar House Rehabilitation Center.

Pricing

  • ImPACT test: $20
  • Full battery of tests (includes ImPACT, COBALT or BESS, VOMS, King-Devick, PCSS, & NDI): $35

Concussion Baseline Testing For Schools, Leagues, & Clubs

Our specialists in the concussion program can work with schools, clubs, and leagues offering pre-season baseline concussion testing. For more information on organizing pre-season testing for your athletes, contact:

Blake Johnson
Phone: 801-587-7109

If your school, club, or league isn't ready to do pre-season testing across the organization, we can provide this service directly in our facility. To learn more about this option and schedule a time to complete this preseason test, please contact us.

Sports Concussion Laws for Athletes

Helping Youth Sports Organizations Understand New Concussion Laws

New sports concussion laws are protecting our young athletes from the potential life-altering consequences of concussions or traumatic head injuries. Amateur youth sport organizations must adopt and enforce a concussion policy, as well as educate parents and athletes about concussions. 

Athletes who might have a concussion now need to be immediately removed from play. These athletes are not allowed to return to the game until they've been medically cleared by a healthcare provider.

Our sports concussion program can help you understand these new laws and enforce them.

Sample Sports Concussion Management Plan

To help organizations with implementing their sports concussion management plan, we have designed a template you can print off and share with your organization, participants, and parents.

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