General Resources

Concussion Resources

Concussion: Recognition, Diagnosis, Return to Learn and Return to Play

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or body, causing the head and brain to become injured. 

Concussions are often deemed as “mild brain injury,” but if not taken care of properly, concussions can alter the cognitive and somatic functions of an athlete, or even cause death. These altered functions can include but are not limited to, short-term and long-term memory loss, decreased proprioception, inability to focus, etc.

Immediate signs and symptoms of a concussion may vary. Signs and symptoms can include loss of consciousness, disorientation, headache, but can emerge hours following the initial injury.

If athletes are suspected of having a concussion, they are to be removed from play immediately and are not to return to play unless cleared by a medical professional (athletic trainer, athlete’s physician).

If suspected of a concussion, athletes must be monitored closely, and are not to be left alone in case of increased symptoms or loss of consciousness.

Returning to play following an undiagnosed concussion can put the athlete at an increased risk for further injury, and potentially death.

It is critical for athletes to report symptoms honestly, as well as staff to properly identify changes in the athletes’ behavior and capabilities. Although a concussion cannot be diagnosed by the coaching staff, being aware of the signs and symptoms plays a key role in the athlete’s health.

Prior to returning to sports, athletes must be able to participate in their normal school load. Initial return to school may need to be adjusted, where athletes may require additional time for testing, help understanding questions, and more. 

It is the student’s responsibility to inform their professors, or program directors, of their injury. Athletes should participate in academics as much as possible, but never enough to increase current symptoms. It is recommended students decrease their average school load for a few days following their injury, then gradually progress according to their self-reported symptoms.

**athletes can fill out THIS concussion form to properly request academic accommodations**

An athlete must never return to play within 24 hours of their initial concussion. Athletes are ONLY allowed to return to play once they are symptom-free, have returned to their normal class load, and have completed the return to play protocol under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional (athletic trainer, physician).

 

Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS): the persistence of concussion symptoms beyond normal recovery time, including but not limited to: chronic headaches, chronic photophobia, and chronic phonophobia. Those with a history of concussions find themselves at a higher risk for PCS, and symptoms may persist for 6 months to a year.

Second-Impact Syndrome (SIS): a rare condition of swelling in the brain caused by a second impact to the head while the athlete is still symptomatic from their first impact. This condition can cause long-term brain damage, leading to significant cognitive changes, and sometimes death.

Long-term Consequences: multiple concussions may lead to long-term effects on the body including but not limited to: decreased neurocognitive functioning, brain function, and motor control.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE): a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including symptomatic concussions, as well as asymptomatic subconcussive hits to the head. CTE is associated with memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, and personality changes.

National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion. Steven P. Broglio, PhD, ATC*; Robert C. Cantu, MD†; Gerard A. Gioia, PhD‡; Kevin M. Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, FNATA, FACSM§; Jeffrey Kutcher, MD*; Michael Palm, MBA, ATC||; Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA

Concussion Foundation Website

Cleveland Clinic Concussion Management and Treatment Resources website

Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion in Sports National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC)


 

General Signs and Symptoms of Concussion

  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • “In a fog”
  • Zoning out, staring off
  • Inability to focus
  • Delayed verbal responses
  • Slurred/incoherent speech
  • Drowsiness 
  • Stunned appearance
  • Inability to recall events prior to or following the hit or fall
  • Headache
  • Increased head pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to balance
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Decreased proprioception
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Changed vision
  • Photophobia (inability to tolerate lights)
  • Phonophobia (inability to tolerate loud noises)
  • Irregular emotions
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Personality changes
  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Inability to stay asleep
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
Activate EMS Immediately if the Athlete Presents:
  • Loss of consciousness (even if brief) or seizure
  • Facial droop
  • Worsening headache
  • Persistent vomiting

Managing Concussion and Symptoms:

DO: Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) if pain medication is needed.

DO NOT take medications that are considered anticoagulants (blood thinners): naproxen (Aleve), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

Risks: Using anticoagulant medications thin the blood, causing an increased risk of cranial bleeding. Taking medication may mask symptoms, so symptoms need to be monitored closely to track the progression of injury.

DO: Decrease exposure to blue light, increase rest, eliminate rigorous activity.

DO NOT expose yourself to any activity that triggers symptoms, including phone or computer use, participating in video games, listening to loud music, etc.

Risks: inadequate rest during concussion healing may lengthen the recovery period, increase symptoms, increase the probability of new symptom onset.

DO: increase consumption of Vitamin C & D (fruits and vegetables), omega-3 (fish oils), protein, and other nutrient-rich foods.

DO: increase fluids and electrolytes. If fluids are increased, also increase salt intake.

DO NOT use this time to begin a dieting regiment, consume alcohol, use recreational drugs, consume highly processed foods.

Risks : restricting your caloric intake, consuming alcohol, and using recreational drugs will hinder the brain’s healing capabilities, as well as a mask or increase current symptoms.

Injury Care Clinic

Injury Care Clinic
Injury Care Clinic services are FREE for all patients, including students, faculty, or staff.

The Injury Care Clinic (ICC) exists as a partnership between GVSU Recreation & WellnessGVSU Movement ScienceMetro Health, and NovaCare Rehabilitation. Our mission is to administer care to injured GVSU students, staff, and community members. In order to best serve the community, the Injury Care Clinic operates on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. Clinic services include: 

Injury Evaluation & Prevention 

Treatment and Rehabilitation of Injuries

Basic Taping upon Request

Acute Injury Care

Stretching Techniques

Professional Referrals

Availability of Supplies  

Physical Therapy (offered by NovaCare) 

Injury Care Clinic services are FREE for all patients, including students, faculty, or staff. 

Equipment/supplies are also offered at no cost to registered club sport student-athletes.

The Injury Care Clinic is located on the Basement floor of the Fieldhouse in Room B032.

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