|Patrick Mularoni, MD|
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect blow to the head. This injury causes movement of the brain inside the skull and injury occurs on the cellular level. These cellular changes disrupt brain function. As the brain attempts to heal, there is an energy crisis caused by cellular injury and electrolyte imbalance, leading to the symptoms we typically see in a concussed person.
The effects of concussion cannot be seen on CT scan or MRI. There does not need to be a loss of consciousness associated with the injury. Concussions are often recognized on the sideline by athletic trainers, coaches, parents or even an injured athlete's teammate.
The symptoms that players may report if they have concussion are immediate and include headache, dizziness, loss of memory or a generalized "foggy" type feeling In addition, an athlete experiences feeling slowed down, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light and sound, irritability, sadness and nausea or vomiting. Athletes may be disoriented, confused, show a lack of coordination or clumsiness, and may be slow to answer questions.
If you suspect concussion, the first thing you need to do is remove the athlete from the game. Concussed athletes should be evaluated by a physician knowledgeable about the treatment of concussion in youth athletes. AllSports Medicine is the only Sports Medicine program in the Tampa Bay area solely dedicated to the care of young athletes.