Sports Concussion Specialist in New Jersey
Concussions in sports have become more common in recent years and because of this, more research has been conducted to analyze the severity and long-term impact it could have. Approximately 200,000 people in the United States suffer a sports related concussion each year. A concussion is defined as a mild traumatic brain injury. For athletes, especially those who participate in contact sports, the chances of getting a concussion increases.
Sports related concussions occur when there is a force or blow to the head or body that causes the brain to rapidly move back and forth inside the skull. Any violent force in sports is more than likely to cause a concussion. Some sports have higher rates of concussions due to the physical nature and therefore higher likelihood of a blow to the body and/or head.
There are a lot of possible long-term consequences and problems associated with sports concussions, which is why it is imperative that athletes know the signs and symptoms of this type of injury. There are both physical and cognitive symptoms associated with sports concussions, and many of the symptoms are not obvious. You may be suffering from a concussion if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Headache, drowsiness and dizziness
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss and problems
- Irritability and confusion
- Loss of overall balance
- Speech and communication problems
- Vomiting and/or feeling nauseous
- Erratic sleep patterns
A full examination by a doctor or certified athletic trainer should take place in order to accurately diagnose a sports concussion and the severity of said concussion. It usually starts with simple questions regarding how and when the injury took place, how severe the force was, and if you are experiencing any symptoms. One of the major ways our doctors diagnose your concussion is through imaging tests. These include Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computer Tomography (CT) scans. They help provide detailed images of your skull to our doctors. Another way to diagnose a concussion is through a neuropsychological assessment, by asking a series of memory related questions. It provides our doctors with information on a range of mental functions. Also, a balance assessment may be administered to diagnose a concussion. During this assessment, our doctors can observe how well the part of the brain that controls movement is functioning. Poor balance could be a sign of a concussion. Lastly, computer generated neurological test can be administered to also evaluate mental status after a head injury.
The first step of prevention is educating yourself on the long term effects and consequences associated with concussions. While no equipment is fully concussion proof, it’s important to use and wear the proper equipment to best protect yourself. The most important prevention technique is playing each sport by the rules and using the proper technique in both practices and games.
The best treatment method for sports concussions, or concussions in general for that matter, is to rest. Rest not only your body, but also your mind. This means take a break from everything including computers, video games, cell phones, television and reading. Depending on the severity of the concussion, this rest period can be from one to two weeks or months after the injury. When symptoms of the concussion are gone, you can cautiously return to physical and mental activities.
In North Jersey, there is no better team of physicians for diagnosing and treating sports concussions than our team at NJOI. We strive to provide the best orthopaedic and sports medicine care in the area to meet all of our patient’s needs. Make an appointment today at one of our North Jersey locations if you fear you have sustained a sports related injury or concussion.
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Meet The Team
Vincent K. McInerney, M.D.
Founding member, Vincent K. McInerney, M.D., graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 1977 with honors as one of the top medical students in his class.
Anthony Festa, M.D.
Dr. Anthony Festa is an orthopaedic surgeon in his seventh year of practice at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute.
Anthony J. Scillia, M.D.
Anthony J. Scillia M.D. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine.
Robert M. Palacios, M.D.
SPORTS MEDICINE PHYSICIAN
Dr. Robert Palacios is board-certified and fellowship trained, and has been specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine for over two decades.
Craig Wright, M.D.
ORTHOPAEDIC TRAUMA SURGEON
Craig Wright, MD joins New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute by way of Totowa, NJ where he was born and raised.
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