CONCUSSION MANAGEMENT

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a transient disruption of neurological function. In other words, a temporary loss of brain function following a force being exerted on the brain.

The most common signs and symptoms of concussion are:

  • Feeling stunned or dazed

  • Confusion, e.g. a delay in answering questions

  • Headache

  • Nausea

  • Ringing in the ears

  • Dizziness

  • Tiredness

  • Vision disturbances (double or blurred vision or ‘seeing stars’)

  • Memory loss (amnesia) that improves within a few hours.

 

Management of a concussion has shifted away from traditional advice to just rest, to targeted treatment of specific types of concussion. We know that this speeds up recovery. Concussions can involve different systems, and should be treated differently depending on the dominant system. For example, concussions can be clustered into:

  • Cognition (ability to think)

  • Sleep

  • Cervical spine (the neck)

  • Psychological (mood)

  • Vision

  • Balance

  • Autonomic processes

  • Headache

It is important to have a concussion assessed promptly by an experienced medical professional who can guide you in this process.

Inner Level's director, Katherine Forch, currently provides visual and vestibular concussion rehabilitation services to several NZ sporting organisations, including High Performance Sport NZ, Equestrian NZ, NZRFU, Super Rugby franchises, and the Counties Manukau, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay Rugby Unions. She has been part of the team at the ACC Sports Concussion Centre of Excellence based at Axis Sports Medicine Specialists since it began in 2017.

Many concussions come from a blow to the head, but it is also possible from strong acceleration/deceleration forces being transmitted to the brain, e.g. from a strong blow or tackle to the chest, or a whiplash.

You do not need to be knocked out to sustain a concussion, this is a common myth.

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