Football Season Calls for Proper Diagnosis and Treatment of Concussions
With widespread coverage of concussions among NFL players recently in the news, high school football coaches and parents of student athletes are more aware of this traumatic brain injury than ever before. Still, confusion often remains regarding proper concussion diagnosis and treatment. This could endanger young players if they return to play before full recovery, since risks associated with subsequent concussions are even greater.
As high school football season kicks off in Oklahoma’s Green Country, Central States Orthopedics is working with area coaches and athletic trainers to help young athletes stay safe from sports-related injuries, including concussion.
A concussion is caused by a bump or blow to the head, or when the head or upper body is violently shaken. Concussion diagnosis can be difficult or subjective because, contrary to popular belief, most concussions do not involve loss of consciousness. Furthermore, student athletes may minimize symptoms from a lack of understanding of their effects – or the desire to return to practice and games as soon as possible.
Central States Orthopedics recently became the first health care provider in the Tulsa area to offer ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), the same concussion testing used by the NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, NASCAR and GotSoccer. In fact, Dr. Troy Glaser, sports medicine physician with Central States Orthopedics, is the first Tulsa physician to become a Credentialed ImPACT Consultant (CIC).
“It’s imperative to evaluate concussed patients from an objective standpoint. ImPACT gives us the opportunity to remove bias and guesswork. In completing the test, the kids reveal the true extent of their symptoms,” said Dr. Glaser.
The 25-minute ImPACT test is the most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system. It assesses several factors including reaction time to 1/100th of a second, attention span, verbal and visual memory, response variability, non-verbal problem solving and sustained and selective attention time.
Darren Lunow, M.Ed., ATC, LAT, certified athletic trainer and coordinator of Central States Orthopedics’ Sports Medicine Outreach, is also earning his Impact Trained Athletic Trainer Credential (ITAT). He has helped several area high schools create comprehensive concussion management protocols for all their patients and student athletes.
According to ImPACT, 4-5 million concussions occur annually in the United States with a growing trend among athletes as young as middle schoolers.
“When it comes to making important decisions about concussed athletes, including when it is safe to return to play, you don’t want blanket, generalized advice. ImPACT testing is one more way Central States Orthopedics provides exceptional treatment that is customized to the patient,” said Lunow.