Concussion……When is it Safe for Sports Again?
High school athletes engaged in contact sports are experiencing concussions at an alarming rate. Concussions are the most common sports related brain injury among 15 to 24 year olds. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate up to 3 million sports-related concussions are happening in the U.S per year. One third of those cases occur with children under the age of 14. Unfortunately, the rate of re-occurrence is just as concerning.
How do we really know when it is safe for players who have had a concussion to return to play? Are we putting our athletes at risk? Will there be lasting effects? Can I play now? We are excited to extend the resources of our new Concussion Management Program at Parke Wellness & Rehabilitation Center to help answer these questions.
The Biodex Concussion Management Program
A diagnostic and concussion management tool used by leading hospitals, rehabilitation centers and national sports teams throughout the U.S and is endorsed by neurologists and authorities treating this growing epidemic among school aged children.
We would like to take this opportunity to enroll athletes with a simple baseline test of balance, which is an important first step in the event of a future injury. Parke Wellness & Rehabilitation Center encourages the baseline testing and recommends that parents and guardians of school-aged children have their children screened during the pre-season, ideally in coordination with pre-season sports physicals. The baseline testing takes only minutes but will provide valuable information in the event an athlete sustains a concussion.
There are four components of the baseline testing.
The tests measure four components of sway to see how well an athlete can integrate various senses with respect to balance and compensate when one or more of those senses are compromised. Difficulty in postural sway control can persist even after signs and symptoms of a concussion reside, or simply stated; an athlete may appear asymptomatic and even pass a cognitive test, but the lingering effects of a balance disturbance from head trauma can go undetected without a balance assessment.
The pre-season baseline testing will cost $10 per athlete.
The Biodex Concussion Management Program, along with guidance provided by the clinicians at Parke Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, can dramatically aid in the healing process and provide post-injury testing to the benefit of the patient. If an athlete sustains a concussion during their athletic season, they would need to be evaluated first by their physician and then referred back to the clinic as soon as possible for a follow up assessment. Using the initial baseline test as well as age and gender specific normative data, a comparison report is created for the patient’s physician to help determine the readiness of returning to sports and other activities.
Each concussion is different, so too is each patient’s recovery. Having objective baseline and data driven support is essential for those difficult return to play decisions. When a concussion protocol is followed, kids usually recover within a week or two. Without a protocol the risks can be great, including re-occurrence and possible lasting effects.