Concussions can happen to any athlete—male or female—in any sport. Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by a blow or jolt to the head that can range from mild to severe and can disrupt the way the brain normally works.  

  • A concussion can occur when an athlete receives a traumatic force to the head or upper body that causes the brain to shake inside of the skull.  The injury is defined as a concussion when it causes a change in mental status such as loss of consciousness, amnesia, disorientation, confusion or mental fogginess.
  • Between 1.4 and 3.6 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur each year, with the majority happening at the high school level, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Because many mild concussions go undiagnosed and unreported, it is difficult to estimate the rate of concussion in any sport, but studies estimate that at least 10 to 20 percent of all athletes involved in contact sports have a concussion each season
  • Because no two concussions are exactly alike and symptoms are not always definite, the injury’s severity, effects and recovery are sometimes difficult to determine.  The decision to allow the athlete to return to the game is not always straightforward, although research has shown that until a concussed brain is completely healed, the brain is likely vulnerable to further injury.  Thus, the critical importance of properly managing the injury.
  • Allowing enough healing and recovery time following a concussion is crucial in preventing any further damage. Research shows that the effects of repeated concussion in young athletes are cumulative. Most athletes who experience an initial concussion can recover completely as long as they are not returned to contact sports too soon. Following a concussion, there is a period of change in brain function that varies in severity and length with each individual. During this time, the brain is vulnerable to more severe or permanent injury. If the athlete sustains a second concussion during this time period, the risk of more serious brain injury increases.
  • In recent years, research has shown that even seemingly mild concussions can have serious consequences in young athletes if they are not properly managed. Loss of consciousness is not an indicator of injury severity. Traditional imaging techniques such as MRI and CT may be helpful in severe injury cases, but cannot identify subtle effects believed to occur in mild concussion. 
  • An explosion of scientific research over the past decade has taught doctors more about the proper management of sports-related concussion than was ever known before, and has raised public awareness and significantly changed the way sports concussions are managed.
  • Much of the recently published research includes data proving the usefulness of objective neurocognitive testing, such as ImPACT™, as part of the comprehensive clinical evaluation to determine recovery following concussion.  Recent international sports injury management guidelines have emphasized player symptoms and neuropsychological test results as “cornerstones” of the evaluation and management process.

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Article adapted by MD Sports Weblog from original press release.
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Contact: Susan Manko
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

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Comments
  1. mark says:

    The water is already under the bridge on the path former concussion head Elliot Pelman has set for concussion research and their ulterior motives to sweep anything not “their idea” under the rug. Well now this “idea” looks like a great Dane under that rug. The problem is, players who are now subjected to concussion are not being told the reason the N.E.Patriots have had but one concussion this year. One player wearing a $2 boil and bite. These players will have a case against the league, says one expert on personal injury. Once a study is done to examine the reason why the Colts have had over eight documented concussions and the Pats none with players fitted with this corrective orthodic device. It’s just not fair or humane, this is brain injury, those clips of Mackey on HBO alone, should have created a public outcry. Yet the NFL’s dog and pony show last year has stemmed the tide, people are just accepting the manipulation of data by NFL researchers (go to concussioncrisis.com)and the fact that the NFL has completely overlooked this statistical anomaly with the Patriots. These are players who have had multiple concussions in their careers and report none. No dizziness, the sensation of seeing stars, headache or brain injury. Lets stop hiding behind the word concussion, it minimizes the affects and long term damage, it’s exactly what the NFL wants. http://www.mahercor.com

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