Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Concussions: More Than a Knock on the Head

Two or more athletes collide on a football field. One hits the ground hard suffering a head impact. The athlete gets up, shakes it off and continues to play. Not always the wise thing to do.

“I often say that football is not a contact sport, it is a collision sport,” says Kevin Crutchfield, M.D., the director of the Comprehensive Sports Concussion Program at the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Brain & Spine Institute. A concussion is not a simple knock on the head but an injury to your brain that should be taken seriously, he says.

Dr. Crutchfield presented a lecture about sports-related concussions at Sinai Hospital’s Grand Rounds last week. Neurology, rehabilitation and other experts collaborate to monitor and treat sports-related concussions in high school- and college-aged athletes to predict when it is safe for an athlete to resume participation in contact sports.

Dr. Crutchfield is an expert in treating concussions, and a former college athlete who himself suffered a concussion. “I understand what is going on in the inside as well as the outside,” he says.

Everyone should remember that if you sustain a hard hit to the head, seek medical attention. Without proper medical attention, particularly from repeat concussions, risks can include insomnia, visual disturbances, and early onset dementia.

And you don’t have to be an athlete to receive the help you need at the Brain & Spine Institute. In addition to sports injuries, common causes of concussions include bicycle accidents, car accidents, and falls, as well as blows to the head. BSI experts will medically manage those individuals who sustain a recent brain injury and to work with those with unresolved long-standing symptoms that relate to mild brain injury.

“A concussion may cause moderate changes in a person's thinking, emotional, or physical
abilities, and these changes can significantly impact everyday life,” Dr. Crutchfield says.

To learn more or to find a physician, call 410-601-WELL (9355).
-Sandra Crockett

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