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Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) and Concussions

Kids playing football

Traumatic brain injuries (including concussions) are often the result of everyday events and activities. Falls, vehicle collisions, and sports injuries are common causes. Any outside force or head trauma fast or strong enough to disrupt your brain’s normal function can cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Accurate diagnosis and fast treatment of TBI can help you avoid or minimize long-term symptoms and side effects.

Evaluation of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Depending on your type of injury and where you go for treatment, you may be evaluated by one of our:

You may also need neuropsychological testing to determine if the TBI has an effect on your memory or cognition (thinking).

Treatment of Moderate & Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries

If you have a moderate or severe TBI, you may need to stay in the hospital.

You may also need inpatient rehabilitation services during your recovery. Depending on your symptoms, rehabilitation may include:

Concussion Evaluation & Treatment

Though some people think of concussions as just a minor injury, they are actually very serious and have the potential to cause long term complications. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury.

Concussion may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, or after your head and upper body are violently shaken. This can cause your brain to slide against the inside of your skull. The majority of concussions are sports injuries, but they may result from any blow to the head.

Concussion Symptoms

Some people can have a concussion and not even realize it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  notes these may be concussion symptoms:

  • Balance problems 
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Confusion, concentration or difficulty with memory
  • Difficulty with exposure to light or noise
  • Headaches or a feeling of pressure in your head
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New or increased feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability
  • Sluggishness, haziness, fogginess or grogginess

Your primary care physician and/or team trainer can manage most concussions successfully. Many symptoms go away after a few days. You may need to see us if you still have symptoms a week after your injury.

Baseline Tests for Athletes

Baseline tests measure your cognitive abilities before a concussion. Sports medicine doctors recommend baseline tests for all athletes in contact and collision sports who are 10 years old or older.

We use the ImPACT™ test, the concussion test that many professional sports leagues and colleges use. This test is part of our comprehensive evaluation and management protocol. The test takes about 30 minutes and measures your cognitive abilities before an injury.

The results of your baseline test can help the concussion team understand the extent of your injury. You should have a baseline test before contact drills begin since concussions can occur in practice, too.

Concussion Treatment

At Baystate, the right treatment may require experts in a variety of fields, including:

Red Flags for Sports Concussions

Some athletes may not report (or may under-report) symptoms to try to stay in the game after an injury. Watch for these signals:

  • Athlete appears to be stunned or dazed
  • Athlete can’t remember events before or after a hit or fall
  • Athlete has trouble with instructions, assigned position, the score of the game, the opponent, etc.
  • Athlete loses consciousness (even for a brief time)
  • Athlete moves clumsily and/or answers questions slowly
  • Athlete shows changes in behavior, mood or personality

These symptoms usually show up soon after an injury, but they may not appear for hours or days afterward. See your primary care provider, go to an urgent care center, or go to the emergency room right away if you or a loved one shows symptoms of a concussion.

See us if you’ve had any of these other aggravating factors:

  • Multiple concussions in a short period of time
  • Multiple concussions in the past
  • A pre-existing mood disorder, a learning disability or disorder, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

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