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Sports Concussion Program

Sports-related concussions are on the rise in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that from 2001 to 2009, the number of recreation and sports related head injuries rose 57% among children and teens ages 19 years and younger.

But sports concussions aren’t just a concern for young athletes. It’s important to recognize and treat concussion symptoms in athletes of all ages. The CDC recommends seeking specialized medical attention in an effort to minimize the potential for any long-term effects of a concussion.

The Mary Free Bed Sports Concussion Program was created in 1995 as a way to help athletes of all ages who have suffered a suspected sports concussion. We offer priority scheduling to ensure prompt assessment and treatment after serious traumatic events, such as football head injuries or soccer concussions.

It’s especially important to diagnose and treat sports concussions in children, teens and young adults to ensure normal brain development and prevent the potential long-term effects of brain injury. Below is additional information about sports concussion and our treatment program.


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Your Treatment Team

Members of your treatment team have specialty training in concussions. They use leading-edge technology and techniques to assess and treat concussion symptoms for athletes of all ages and levels, from school-age children to elite competitors.

You may work with a number of professionals during the evaluation and treatment of your sports concussion, including:

• Physiatrists – physicians specializing in brain injury
• Therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists and recreational therapists)
• Rehabilitation nurses
• Pain specialists
• Neuropsychologists and psychologists
• Assistive technology professionals
• Driver rehabilitation professionals
• Vocational rehabilitation professionals

This Sports Concussion Treatment Team will work with coaches, trainers, teachers and employers to not only treat the symptoms of concussion, but train the athlete in a customized return-to-play program.

How Concussions Occur and Why Treating a Concussion is So Important

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury. The adult brain is a 3-pound organ that essentially floats in cerebral spinal fluid. This fluid acts as a shock absorber for minor impacts. The brain can crash into the skull if an athlete’s head is struck, such as during a football tackle or when making contact with a soccer ball. Such impact can cause the brain to twist or stretch. Trauma can disrupt the normal balance of chemicals – especially glucose levels – in the brain. This can cause concussion symptoms and cognitive problems.

Sports Concussions Facts

Young Brains
Younger athletes are more vulnerable to sports concussions. The brain continues to develop until the age of 25, so it’s important to treat concussions in young athletes to ensure normal brain growth and development.

Females vs. Males
Studies suggest females are twice as likely to sustain a sport concussion as males. Soccer is the most common sport with concussion risk for females with a 50% chance of concussions. For males, there is a 75% chance for concussions in football. Other contact sports with a large number of concussions are boxing, hockey and lacrosse.

What Are the Signs of a Concussion?

Approximately 47% of athletes do not report feeling any symptoms after a concussive blow and fewer than 10% of sports-related concussions involve a loss of consciousness (e.g., blacking out, seeing stars, etc.).

Headache (85%) and dizziness (70-80%) are the most commonly reported symptoms of concussion. Other symptoms include:

• Nausea/vomiting
• Fatigue
• Irritability
• Tearfulness/sadness
• Feeling slowed down
• Changes in sleep patterns (sleeping more or less than usual)
• Feeling “foggy”
• Decreased appetite
• Sensitivity to light or noise
• Blurred vision
• Poor memory/concentration