A sports concussion is a medical condition that should be taken seriously. This condition most often results from hitting your head on the ground or on a hard object or hitting another player while playing a contact sport. People who experience a concussion often have symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, or nausea. Plus, they may have side-effects that affect their behavior, sensations, or brain function.
There are two important points to stress about sports concussions:
- This condition is far more serious than just bumping your head. New research has shown that there may be serious behavioral, physical, and cognitive changes in the future for those who have had multiple concussions, referred to as post-concussive syndrome.
- You should not return to playing the sport the same day as your suspected concussion. This is especially true for children under the age of 19. There could be serious side-effects, sometimes fatal, if an athlete who has had a concussion ends up playing with symptoms and then has a second concussion. The brain may literally shut down. An athlete should not return to play if they are still have symptoms after hitting their head, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. For more information, check out our Facts about Concussion and Brain Injury flyer (PDF).
For these reasons, we created the Sports Concussion Program at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to help assess and manage athletes who have a suspected concussion.
There are two stages to the services we offer: baseline testing and post-concussion management.
- Baseline testing: Experts recommend that athletes who regularly participate in contact sports have baseline testing done prior to the start of a sports season. In most children younger than 13, baseline testing will not be useful due to ongoing maturation and developmental factors. This concept is reflected in the most current research literature.
- Post-concussion management: If you have a suspected concussion, we would like to see you at least 24 hours after the concussion occurred, preferably no more than one week after the concussion. This time period will allow your symptoms to subside slightly and perhaps you will regain some of your function. For the first 24 to 48 hours after your injury, you should allow your brain to rest, physically and mentally.
To make an appointment with us for baseline (individual or group testing) or post-concussion management, please call or email us.
For those requiring post-concussion management, we would like to see you soon after your concussion. Until your appointment, please get as much mental and physical rest as possible, stay away from activities that cause symptoms like dizziness and headaches, and keep notes of your symptoms each day.
- Lebanon, New Hampshire
Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center