Sport related concussion (SRC) has been a hot topic in the media for many years now. Due to the variability in presentation and resolutions of symptoms, concussion can be an injury that can affect many aspects of someone’s life - not just sport. A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces that result in signs and symptoms that typically resolve spontaneously within 1-4 weeks of injury. This definition is based on the the 5th Concensus statement on Concussion in Sport.
Recognition of concussion can sometimes be a challenge. A concussion should be suspected in any athlete (or individual) who sustains a significant impact to the head, neck or body and demonstrates any visual signs of a suspected concussion (ParachuteCanada.org). To help with the initial recognition of the signs and symptoms of concussion a tool, which have attached below, was developed. It is important to note that symptoms may develop over a period of time, so it’s essential to monitor the athlete closely not only immediately after an impact but in the period following. If a concussion is suspected, any youth athlete must not return to the game or practice and should be referred for medical assessment. When it comes to concussions - when in doubt, sit them out!
Physical therapists can be involved in concussion right from the start as part of a treatment team with your medical doctor and other healthcare practitioners. With a concussion, there may be other musculoskeletal injuries that occur, such as a whiplash-like injury to the neck. PTs can also assist and advise on strategies for symptom management and gradual return to sport protocols, especially for sport-specific activities. Before returning to any high-risk activities (such as sport), an athlete must be deemed clinically recovered by a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner.