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Concussions. Injury Definition: Sports concussion Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic.

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Presentation on theme: "Concussions. Injury Definition: Sports concussion Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic."— Presentation transcript:

1 Concussions

2 Injury Definition: Sports concussion Concussion is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by traumatic biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathologic and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilized in defining the nature of a concussive head injury include… Aubry et. al. Br J Sports Med 36(1): 6-10, 2002



5 Definition Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head. Concussion typically results in the rapid onset of short- lived impairment of neurologic function that resolves spontaneously. Concussion may result in neuropathological changes but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury.

6 Concussion results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course. However it is important to note that in a small percentage of cases, post-concussive symptoms may be prolonged. No abnormality on standard structural neuro-imaging studies is seen in concussion. May or may not involve loss of consciousness (only approximately 10 % result in LOC)

7 Concussion Effects Concussions effect four areas of functionality The way the person feels How they think Changes in emotions How they sleep

8 Signs to watch for in athletes Appears dazed or stunned Confused about assignments Forgets plays Unsure of game score or opponent Moves clumsily Answers questions slowly Behaviour or personality changes Cant recall events prior to or after injury LOC

9 Symptoms to watch for in Athletes Headache Nausea Balance problems /dizziness Double or blurry vision Sensitivity to light or noise Feeling sluggish, foggy Concentration or memory problems confusion

10 Everyone feels fine Always ask: 1.On a scale of 0 to 100%, how do you feel? 2.what makes you not 100%? 3. Checklist – SCAT2

11 Onfield or sideline evaluation of acute concussion The player should be medically evaluated onsite using standard emergency management principles and particular attention should be given to excluding a cervical spine injury. The appropriate disposition of the player must be determined by the treating healthcare provider in a timely manner. An assessment of the concussive injury should be made using the SCAT3 or other similar tool. The player should not be left alone following the injury and serial monitoring for deterioration is essential over the initial few hours following injury. A player with diagnosed concussion should not be allowed to return to play on the day of injury (see management section).

12 Investigations Balance assessment Balance error scoring system (BESS) Neuropsychological assessment Best done after symptom resolution Most sensitive when compared to baseline

13 Management CORNERSTONE = rest until asymptomatic Rest from activity No training, playing, exercise, weights Beware of exertion with activities of daily living No television, extensive reading, video games, texting ? Caution re: daytime sleep Cognitive rest REST = ABSOLUTE REST!

14 Sports concussion Follow-up Management Rest Expect gradual resolution in 7-10 days Start graded exercise rehabilitation when asymptomatic at rest and post-exercise challenge

15 Rest for a player with a concussion at school Stay at home or attend half days Take naps, need rest time Extended time for assignments or tests Written instructions for assignments Repeat and present new information slowly


17 Management Issues Consider role for psychological approaches Pharmacotherapy Prolonged symptoms (sleep disturbance, anxiety) Modify underlying pathophysiology Upon return to play should not be on medication that could mask symptoms Antidepressants?

18 Management Issues Pre-participation Evaluation History: Type of sport? Number of prior concussions? Prior facial, dental injuries? Non-sporting head injuries? Type of player (physical?) Ability to take a hit Protective equipment (helmet age)

19 Second Impact Syndrome this occurs when an athlete ( generally seen in children under 18) has sustained a head injury – usually a concussion and then sustains a second concussion before the symptoms associated with the first injury have totally resolved the athlete may receive a relatively minor second blow to the head – the athlete often continues to compete and may be able to function fine for a short period of time

20 however the cranium becomes engorged with blood increasing the pressure on the brain the athlete collapses, slips into a comatose state and respiratory failure ensues the usual time from second impact to brainstem failure is rapid, 2 to 5 minute

21 Hence it is imperative any athlete who complains of headache, light headiness, visual disturbances or other neurologic symptoms should not be allowed to participate in any athletic event until they are totally asymptomatic When in doubt sit them out

22 If S/S linger but appear minor an individual close to the injured person should be informed of the injury and told to watch for changes in behaviour, unsteady gait, slurred speech, progressive headache or nausea, restlessness, mental confusion or drowsiness.

23 These danger signs should be documented on a sheet to give out and given to the individual watching the injured person. If any S/S worsen then the injured person should be taken to the emergency room ASAP. Must be checked by medical personal at some time Must never be sent alone to the bus,locker room, home etc.

24 When to call the ambulance ? A player with a witnessed LOC of any duration A player who exhibits the one or more of the following symptoms Decrease level of consciousness Unusual drowsiness or the inability to be awakened Difficulty getting attention Breathing difficulty Severe or worsening headaches Vomiting Seizures

25 Recovery How long asymptomatic before exercise? If rapid and full recovery, then 24-48 hours One approach is to require that they remain asymptomatic (before starting exertion) for the same amount of time as it took for them to become asymptomatic.

26 Graded Exertion Protocol 24 hours per step If there is recurrence of symptoms at any stage, return to previous step Return to Play / Sport Must pass graded exertion first =remain asymptomatic Is the athlete confident to go back? New helmet/head gear? Other protective equipment / behaviors / factors? Consider implications of multiple/recent injury

27 Modifiers May influence investigation and management May predict potential for prolonged or persistent symptoms Multidisciplinary approach coordinated by a physician with specific expertise in management of concussion.

28 FACTORSMODIFIER SymptomsNumber Duration Severity SignsProlonged LOC (>1min) Amnesia Abnormal conditionConcussive convulsions TemporalFrequency –repeated concussion over time Timing – injuries close together Recency – recent concussion or TBI ThresholdRepeated concussions occurring with progressively less impact force or slower recovery after each successive concussion AgeChild and adolescent (< 18 years old) Co and Pre-morbidities Migraine, depression or other mental health disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning disabilities (LD), sleep disorders MedicationPsychoactive drugs Anticoagulants BehaviourDangerous style of play SportHigh risk activity Contact and collision sport

29 SCAT See handout Return to play guidelines

30 Special populations Child and Adolescent Athlete Adult recommendations can apply down to age 10 Below 10 require age appropriate symptom checklists Include both patient and parent, teacher, etc. Possibly use neuropsych testing before symptoms resolve to assist planning school management

31 Child and Adolescent Athlete Consider age specific physical and cognitive rest issues Symptom resolution may take longer Consider extending symptom free period before starting return to play protocol Consider extending length of the graded exertion protocol Do not return to play same day

32 Elite vs non elite All athletes should be managed the same regardless of level of participation However, available resources and expertise may facilitate a more aggressive management approach

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