Our concussion experts, in consultation with the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, provide diagnosis and active treatment for a range of concussion-related symptoms in people of all ages, providing a seamless continuum of care to each member of our team.
Concussion is one of the most common sports injuries. 1.8 to 3.6 million concussions are reported annually as a result of sports and recreational activities in the U.S. alone.
While people are becoming increasingly aware of the frequency and symptoms of concussion, the advice about what to do for concussion can be confusing. That is why it is important to seek medical treatment from an expert trained in concussion management as soon as possible after a suspected concussion.
Diagnosis and Evaluation
In diagnosing and evaluating a concussion, experience matters. We know there are six different types of concussions that account for more than 20 symptoms. Our concussion experts will evaluate the severity of your concussion by reviewing your medical history and doing a thorough physical exam of your symptoms, balance, and physical condition.
- Assess head injuries with thorough interviews, exams, and tests.
- Conduct neurocognitive testing using ImPACT® (Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) and other brain function tests.
- Use this data to create a tailored concussion treatment and management plan.
If you play sports, it’s important to take a baseline concussion test before the start of your sports season, as this provides a comparison tool for experts when you take the test again after a suspected concussion.
Expert Concussion Treatment
The best treatment for a concussion is an active approach that trains your brain to readapt to stimuli like light, noise, and motion. Our team develops a personalized treatment plan based on your specific symptoms and goals so that you get back to doing what you love safer and sooner. To help manage and treat your concussion, we:
- May prescribe physical or exertional therapy, or use behavior management methods.
- May refer you for a medication consult for chronic symptoms. Not all concussion cases require medicine, but it is useful in complex cases.
- May order imaging scans to rule out any bleeding in the brain. Imaging can also give us insight as to why your symptoms may be getting worse.
- Will reassess you often to promote successful rehab and recovery.
Return to Activity
With an active treatment approach to face concussion head-on, you will likely return to daily activities – with the exception of returning to play your sport – fairly quickly after your concussion is diagnosed.
The sooner your type of concussion is diagnosed and the sooner you begin appropriate treatment, results have shown speedier and more successful recoveries. It can be challenging, as you have to work to retrain your brain after a concussion – to put your brain in the situations that may feel too loud, too bright, or overwhelming for some time.
Your concussion expert will work closely with you to gradually increase activity and decide when you can return to activities that require more exertion, like back to practice, and eventually a full return to play. The 2012 Safety in Youth Sports Act requires written consent by a health professional trained in diagnosing and managing concussions before an athlete can be cleared to return to play.
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