Nearly one in five athletes playing contact sports suffers a concussion each season, enough for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to label this traumatic brain injury an “epidemic.”
Crouse SportsMedicine’s Concussion Care Program is designed to care for each athlete individually with a comprehensive treatment plan to promote full recovery and return to play following an appropriate period of recuperation.
The Crouse program is led by Paul Klawitter, MD, PhD, board certified in primary care sports medicine and emergency medicine. As a physician with specialized training and certification in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of sports-related concussions, Dr. Klawitter is uniquely qualified and experienced in this emerging specialty.
Making An Appointment
Please call the Syracuse Office of Internist Associates of Central New York at 315/479-5070. The office is located in the CNY Medical Building, 739 Irving Ave., Suite 200, in Syracuse, directly across the street from Crouse Hospital.
A concussion is a brain injury and all are serious.
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
- Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death.
Signs of Concussion Observed by Coaches
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Is confused about assignment or position
- Forgets an instruction
- Is unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
- Can’t recall events after hit or fall
Symptoms of Concussion Reported by Athlete
- Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light and/or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Doesn’t “feel right” or is “feeling down”
Your doctor will ask you and others who were present at the time of injury about your symptoms and how the injury occurred. The physical exam usually includes checking for strength, sensation, balance, reflexes, and memory. Tests may include:
- CT scan – a type of X-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the head
- MRI scan – a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the head
Based on guidelines, your doctor will decide whether you need these tests.
The goal of treatment is to allow the brain injury to heal. Treatment may include:
- Rest – allow enough time for recovery
- This means not rushing back into daily activities, such work or school.
- Avoiding certain medicines – not taking medicines without your doctor's permission
- This is especially true for aspirin, blood thinners and medicines that cause drowsiness. Avoid use of alcohol and illegal drugs.
- Preventing re-injury – avoiding activities that might jolt or jar your head
- Never return to a sports activity until your doctor has given you permission. This is generally when signs and symptoms are gone (during rest and activity) and your neurological exam is normal. Ask when it's safe to drive a car, ride a bike, work or play at heights, or use heavy equipment. Re-injury can lead to more severe or long-term symptoms. It’s recommended that athletes return to sports gradually.
- Preventing second impact syndrome – avoiding a second head injury in children and adolescents who have had a concussion
- Even a mild second injury in children and adolescents can rapidly increase swelling, causing unconsciousness and even death. Opinions vary regarding when it’s safe to return to contact sports or other activities. Talk to your child's doctor.
- Neuropsychological testing – to determine the stage of recovery and readiness for activities, such as Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT)
If you are diagnosed as having a concussion, follow your doctor's instructions!