Concussion Care Services
Concussions are a type of brain injury that can occur after an impact to your head. They most commonly occur from falls, high-contact sports, or motor vehicle accidents and require immediate medical attention. They must be carefully managed for the best recovery, which is why we offer some of the most comprehensive concussion care services in Northwest Arkansas. Our medical concussion specialists are trained to identify and tailor each patient's care plan to fit their needs.
A concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, is a functional injury that causes changes in the thinking, emotional, and physical aspects of an individual that can occur with OR without loss of consciousness. Since it is a functional disturbance, a concussion cannot be diagnosed by X-rays, CT or MRI.
Symptoms may include headache, confusion, lack of coordination, memory loss, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, ringing in the ears, sleepiness, and excessive fatigue. In a majority of instances, the signs and symptoms of a concussion usually last 7-10 days. In some cases, they can last much longer – weeks to months. In younger individuals (high school age and under), symptoms often last longer. It is thought to be due to the increased vulnerability of the developing brain. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to know how long each individual's symptoms will last.
If you suspect someone has suffered a concussion, they should stop all activity immediately. He/she should not be left alone and should be seen by a physician trained in concussion management as soon as possible.
If the individual has lost consciousness, call 911 for transport to a hospital immediately. Do NOT move the individual until the paramedics arrive and cervical spine (neck) precautions have been initiated.
The primary focus of treatment for an acute concussion is physical and mental rest. This is the first and most important step. This must include removing the individual from any activity which over-stimulates the brain. For example, it is necessary to limit or exclude watching television, playing video games, texting, or computer usage to achieve complete brain recovery.
When it comes to returning to sports, any individual with concussive symptoms CAN NOT participate in athletic activities. Once the individual is asymptomatic, only then can a graded return-to-play program be initiated. It is crucial to have a physician assess and deem the individual symptom-free and back to their cognitive baseline (pre-injury state) prior to starting the return-to-play program.
The American Medical Society for Sports (AMSSM), which is a leading organization of sports medicine physicians dedicated to education, research, advocacy and the care of athletes, recently updated their position on concussions and return to sport protocols. Dr. Balle is a member of AMSSM and knows all of the latest information on concussion care and more. So rest assured, you're treated with the most advanced care as a patient of AOS.