All Articles by Lindsey Barton Straus, JD

Multiple Concussions: Important Factor In Management

A multiple concussion history, especially where concussions occur with progressively less impact force, are considered modifying factors in the investigation and management of concussion under the current international consensus statement on concussions.

Vast Majority of Concussions Do Not Involve Loss of Consciousness

Study shows LOC of greater than one minute duration may be associated with delayed return to play.  As a result, prolonged LOC is considered a factor that may influence management of such concussions.

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Concussion signs (observable by others) and symptoms (experienced by the athlete) fall into five clusters: symptoms, physical signs, behavioral changes, cognitive impairments, and sleep difficulties. Symptom scales continue to be a critical component in concussion assessment.

Sport Concussion Evaluation and Management Still Matter Of Clinical Judgment

Team, physicians, athletic trainers, and other medical personnel responsible for the medical care of athletes face no more challenging problem than the recognition and management of concussion. Precisely how long a concussion disrupts the metabolic function of the brain is not presently fully understood, and there are no current neuroanatomic or physiologic measurements that can be used to precisely determine the extent of injury in concussion, the severity of metabolic dysfunction or precisely when it has cleared.

Simple v. Complex Concussion Classification Abandoned

The current international consensus of concussion experts recognizes that they lack the ability to predict injury severity or
outcomes at the time of concussion injury, calls for consideration of range of "modifying factors."

Concussions Linked to Depression

A study of elite athletes playing contact sports suggests that the symptoms of depression some experience after a concussion may result from physical changes in their brains caused by the concussions themselves.

Concussion Guidelines Are Just That: Guidelines

Regardless of which return to play guidelines a child's school or sports program follows for concussions, they are just guidelines, not ironclad rules, with a child's return to play determined on case-by-case basis.

Concussion Grading Scales Abandoned

Until 2004, the three most commonly used concussion grading systems were the Cantu, Colorado Medical Society (CMS), and American Academy of Neurology (AAN) guidelines. They have since been abandoned in favor of a symptom-based approach to individually guide management and return to play decisions.

Determining Concussion Severity: Approaches Vary

There are currently three major approaches to determining the severity of sports-related concussions: (1) grading the concussion at the time of injury; (2) grading the concussion based on the presence and duration of symptoms; and (3) eliminating grading altogether to determine concussion severity after all post-concussion signs and symptoms have cleared.

What is A Concussion?

A concussion is an injury to the brain that results in a loss of normal brain function which, while usually temporary, with symptoms clearing within a week to ten days, can sometimes have serious, long-term consequences.  While each concussion is unique, all share five common features.