Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learn the Symptoms of Brain Injury

by Kevin E. Crutchfield, M.D, Director, Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program, The Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute

When your loved one is involved in athletics, it's important to recognize the symptoms of a concussion.

A concussion can cause a variety of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that usually go away entirely within three weeks but may persist, or complications may occur. A concussion may cause moderate changes in a person’s thinking, emotional, or physical abilities.

Call 911 immediately if an athlete with a head injury:
  • Cannot be awakened
  • Has one pupil (the black part in the middle of the eye) larger than the other
  • Has convulsions or seizures
  • Has slurred speech
  • Is getting increasingly confused, restless, or agitated
  • Is weak on one side of the body
  • Has persistent clumsiness
  • Complains of excruciating headache

Typical symptoms of a non-urgent brain injury that warrants evaluation by experts at the Berman Brain & Spine Institute:
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches that get worse
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Loss of balance or dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Loss of sense of taste or smell
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Increased sensitivity to sound, light, distractions
  • Weakness, numbness, or decreased coordination
  • Reduced attention/concentration
  • Difficulty organizing daily tasks
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Anxiety/depression or mood changes
  • Irritability

The evaluations conducted by the health care experts at the Berman Brain & Spine Institute may be brief screenings or more comprehensive studies to assess brain functions that are vulnerable after a mild brain injury, including mental processing speed, attention/concentration, and other executive functions (e.g., working memory, behavior regulation, task initiation, and planning and organization). The evaluators make appropriate referrals for patients to individually tailored partial or comprehensive treatment programs that promote healthy recovery (including after-injury plans for accommodations at home, school, or work).

The Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at Brain & Spine Institute stands ready to provide your student-athlete with the attention, assessment, and care that he or she requires following such an injury.

Call us at 410-601-WELL and visit us at

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