Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or commonly known as a concussion, is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, TBIs and concussion injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBI/concussions occurred either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.
A TBI or concussion can be caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in similar outcomes. The severity of a TBI or concussion may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
Connections Achievement & Therapy Center, with offices in Charlottesville and Roanoke, is now offering TBI or concussion screening and therapy for children and adults. Connections pre-screens and assesses post-injury functionality using the CAPS® system from Vestibular Technologies for balance testing. Connections then customizes concussion, or more severe traumatic brain injury treatment for each individual, generally encompassing an array of therapies available on the state-of-the-art Sanet Vision Integrator (SVI) system with Concussions are mild TBIs that can damage cells, cause chemical imbalances and disrupt the brain’s normal functioning in various ways.
"On-going symptoms from a concussion early in life can have a profound impact on the individual for years," says Dr. Brice Jackson, the Clinical Director at Connections. "Thorough evaluation can help us predict the type of therapy that has the highest probability of success with a patient. We're proud to offer these technologies to central virginia families, to help us both demonstrate and improve some of these problems."
Rest is still a critical primary prescription for concussion, especially in the first few days following injury, but Connections promotes earlier intervention in order to pinpoint problems and prescribe targeted therapies – physical therapy for the brain." More effective recovery from concussions can be achieved by taxing the brain slightly to stimulate its own ability to adapt and recover from an injury.
Connections Achievement and Therapy Center staff are trained to scientifically evaluate and treat, through evidenced-based practices and without the use of drugs and surgery, new and lingering effects of concussions and more severe TBIs. Contact us for a complimentary TBI/concussion evaluation.
Head injury and concussion management for athletes
Connections’s Head Injury and Concussion Management Program benefits individuals who have had a concussion, or participate in an activity where there is potential for a concussion.
If an athlete suffers from a concussion and remains symptomatic after ten days or is having balance difficulties after symptoms subside, Connections can help.
Concussion facts, myths, and what to avoid
- Symptoms can be subtle, such as a headache or feeling sluggish
- Symptoms may not surface until 48 to 72 hours after the injury.
- Recovery is different for every person who sustains a concussion, thus recovery time cannot and should not be predetermined until after medical evaluation and post-concussion evaluation by a certified athletic trainer.
Myth: You have to have loss of consciousness to have sustained a concussion.
Reality: Studies show that less than 10% of concussions result in loss of consciousness.
Myth: Concussions are only a result of a direct blow to the head.
Reality: A concussion can be sustained by a sudden, violent movement of the head caused by an unexpected external force to the body.
Myth: You need to wake someone with a concussion every 20 minutes.
Reality: You only need to check on a concussed athlete periodically.
Myth: You need to check pupils with a flashlight to see if they are dilated or uneven.
Reality: Any response to the pupils is indicative of a much more serious brain injury. Typically, this is only present when the injured individual is unconscious. Therefore, if the athlete is coherently speaking to you, there is no need to check their pupils.
What to avoid and do when a concussion is suspected:
(Things that should be considered so recovery is not delayed.)
An athlete should avoid performing activities that increase their symptoms. Avoid loud noises (Music, TV, band practices, or listening to an IPOD) Limit texting, reading, video games, typing, or internet use. All of these activities cause an increase in cognitive function which puts a strain on the brain. Avoid any over-the-counter medications (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve) that may mask any symptoms, unless advised otherwise by a physician.
If studying is needed to be done for a quiz or test the next day or that week, the school nurse, athletic director, administrator, and/or guidance counselor should be contacted and made aware that a concussion is suspected and postponement of any quizzes or exams may be needed. Initially, reduced cognitive activity (ie school) may be appropriate. However, there is no research that supports prolonged removal from school.
REMEMBER: There is no such thing as a minor head injury. Symptoms may become worse with exertion or possible rest. Athlete should not return to play until cleared by medical personnel. Consult an athletic trainer or concussion expert immediately if any signs or symptoms are reported or observed.