The word concussion often conjures up the image of a large blow to the head with loss of consciousness, amnesia or other major on-field event. However, a concussion is often much more subtle. The severity of a hit or collision is not a reliable predictor of concussion or concussion severity1,2. In fact, in a study done with nearly 450 collegiate football and hockey athletes, half of the 48 concussions identified had no specific large impact event associated with the injury3.
So how do we detect concussion if it is often times difficulty to acutely identify from the sidelines? Many current models rely on an athlete to self-report symptoms to a coach, trainer or parent. However, one must ask if we can safely rely on an individual who has suffered a mild traumatic brain injury to accurately report his or her symptoms? A person suffering from common acute symptoms including dizziness, confusion, mental fogginess or other cognitive complaints may not be the most reliable source of information during this critical time.
Team Up Speak Up Day, an initiative from the Concussion Legacy Foundation, encourages teammates to look out for one another and speak up if they see signs and symptoms of a concussion. During a given season, one in five high school athletes will sustain a concussion and, of those, one-third will report suffering from two or more concussions in a given year4. We encourage you to take the pledge and talk to your team about the importance of protecting each other from this often silent injury.
- McCrory P, Meeuisse W, Dvorak J, et al. Consensus statement on concussion in sport- the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016. Br J Sports Med. 2017;51: 838-847.
- Iverson GL, Gerdner AJ, Terry DP, et al. Predictors of clinical recovery from concussion: a systematic review. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:941-948.
- Duhaime AC, Beckwith JG, Maerlender AC et al. Spectrum of acute clinical characteristics of diagnosed concussions in college athletes wearing instrumented helmets. J Neurosurg. 2012 Dec; 117(6): 1092-1099.
- Marar M, Mcilvain NM, Fields SK et al. Epidemiology of concussions among United States high school athletes in 20 sports. Am J Sports Med. 2012;40(4):747-755.
Author: Lindsay Walston, PT, DPT, NCS