Log in

Caring for Concussions


From Florida Hospital - Apopka

Dizzy and disoriented after a collision during a softball game earlier this year, Sara Vincente, then a sophomore at University High School in Orlando, knew she had a concussion.sara_vincente9594

“I got up and went back in to play, but I knew I was hurt,” says Sara. “When the inning ended, my coach took me out of the game.”

Concerned for his daughter, Sara’s dad, Jose, took her to the emergency room. Because she was able to remember her name and wasn’t vomiting, she was discharged that night.

When her symptoms didn’t improve after two days, her pediatrician referred her to the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program.

The program’s medical team works with more than 17 Central Florida schools to provide 30-minute, preseason baseline tests for athletes that evaluate verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time and mental processing speed.

If a head injury occurs, the test shows how an athlete’s brain functions pre-injury and helps determine when an athlete has healed. A majority of concussions appear normal on a CT scan or MRI because these tests only look at the structure of the brain, not how it functions.

“A concussion is like a power surge in a computer,” says Melvin Field, MD, neurosurgeon and co-medical director of the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program and director of the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute. “It has to shut down, reboot and, depending on the severity of the injury, could take hours, days or weeks to fully recover.”

Dr. Field cautions that certain brain functions won’t work until the brain heals, which is slowed by both physical and mental strains.

A real concern

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of emergency department visits for concussions increased by more than 200 percent in older teens from 1997 to 2007. An 11-year study published in 2011 in theAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine found that the high school sports with the highest concussion rates were football, girls’ soccer, boys’ lacrosse, girls’ lacrosse, boys’ soccer and wrestling.

“There is no gender, sport or age bias for concussions,” says Michael Dougherty, manager, Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program. “Younger brains heal slower than adult brains, so we must be more cautious and supportive of players who suffer head injuries.

“Our goal is to make sure kids are completely healed before returning to a contact environment,” says Dougherty. “We have tools for testing and can gauge when athletes have recovered and can safely return to their sport.”

For the full article, go here.

Concussion, Dr. Melvin Field, Florida Hospital - Apopka


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here