QUESTION: My child has a concussion – now what do I do?

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The incidence of concussion in youth sports continues to rise, and parents are often left with trying to navigate the process on their own.

The highest incidence rate occurs in football, boys’ ice hockey, girls’ soccer and boys’ lacrosse but other sports are not immune.

Unfortunately most parents get their initial education about the concussion process in the local emergency room, which is not always the best place to go following a mild head injury. The ER is often loud, bright and hectic, which is overstimulating to the concussed athlete and can make the symptoms of headache, dizziness and irritability even worse.

In the far majority of situations after a mild head injury or concussion, quiet rest is the most important treatment. This allows the brain to heal during a vulnerable time.  Our internal system that regulates blood flow to the brain gets impaired during a concussion, so when the brain needs increased blood flow to provide healing nutrients, it actually gets less. If the brain is stressed during this healing time with concentration tasks, memory functions, visual and auditory processing and exercise or activity, the healing process gets interrupted, which can delay the recovery process.

The key is to get your child to rest to allow them to avoid any stimulating activities. Sleep is good and will improve healing.

Post Concussion Treatment
Often following a concussion, a supervised Concussion Rehabilitation program is recommended. At db Orthopedic Physical Therapy, Dr. Bertone provides a 5-step comprehensive post-concussion therapy treatment to improve balance and cognitive function, regain postural control and reduce headaches.

As progress is made, Dr. Bertone continues a graduated program with more advanced training; all intended to encourage the safe return to physical activity and sports competition. Baseline concussion testing ConcussionRXCare at db Orthopedic Physical Therapy offers comprehensive baseline concussion testing to determine a pre-injury status of your balance, neurocognitive and oculomotor function. This information is stored and used for comparison purposes in case the athlete sustains a head injury.

If you suffer a concussion and return to physical activity before you are fully healed, you are at high risk for the potentially tragic “Second Impact Syndrome.” This is particularly important with athletes who play sports where concussion is a common injury. The only way to determine when it is truly safe to return to physical activity is to test your brain function before you have a concussion. To get the most accurate result, baseline testing must be comprehensive and the results interpreted by an expert in the field.  This information is then sent to your physician/pediatrician with a report to help them make the proper return to play decision. If the results are impaired compared to the baseline levels, the athlete is retested until they return to prior levels.

Organizations that are a part of our ConcussionRXCare program include Red Bank Catholic High School, Riverview Medical Center ER, Freehold Football Club, Marlboro Soccer and Old Bridge Ice Hockey. Call us at 732-747-1262 for more information on how to sign up for this unique and comprehensive program.

db Orthopedic Physical Therapy
David Bertone, pt, dpt, ocs Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Jerry Moczerniuk, pt, dpt Doctor of Physical Therapy
Clinical Director of Manalapan Office
732 Newman Springs Rd, Ste 300, Lincroft | 732-747-1262
120 Craig Rd, #2, Manalapan Twp. | 732-462-2162