Sports Concussion Treatment
Concussions are a serious matter. While not typically life-threatening, they can have long-term effects on how your child learns, acts and participates in sports. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to minimize any effects and possibly shorten your child’s recovery.
Children’s Health Andrews Institute places a special emphasis on educating patients and the community about the dangers of concussions. We offer a comprehensive pediatric sports concussion program with expert evaluation techniques, personalized treatment plans and post-concussion guidance that helps children and teens:
- Recover from a concussion
- Return to school with learning accommodations, if applicable
- Return to sports at the earliest appropriate time
What Is a Concussion?
When the head gets jolted so much and so fast that the brain bounces around significantly, it’s called a concussion. Researchers continue to investigate precisely how concussions affect the brain years later. Current evidence shows the potential for long-term consequences of concussions, especially as it relates to cognition (the brain’s ability to process thoughts clearly).
Because of these long-term effects, it’s important for any child or teen who may have had a concussion to be evaluated by a medical team with experience in treating concussions. The head of our concussion treatment team is a specialist in pediatric sports medicine with additional concussion-specific ImPACT® certification, allowing for expert evaluation of children and teens.
Often, symptoms present shortly after a concussion. But signs could show up hours or even days later. If you think your child may have experienced a concussion, seek care from a concussion specialist. Learn more about concussion signs .
Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
- Any loss of consciousness
- Confusion, or trouble remembering details from before or after a blow to the head
- Mood or personality changes
- Balance problems
- Blurry or double vision
- Nausea or vomiting
At Children’s Health Andrews Institute, our sports medicine physicians evaluate every athlete with a suspected concussion. Our concussion tests use the latest technology, including C3 Logix and ImPACT® concussion testing platforms. To get an accurate diagnosis, we evaluate patients within 3 types of concussion tests:
- Neurocognitive testing: This is a computerized test, lasting about 20 to 30 minutes, that evaluates your child’s brain functioning.
- Balance testing: We evaluate 2 components of balance (one involving the inner ear and the other testing how your eyes communicate with your brain).
- Neurological function testing: In this question-and-answer test, doctors assess your child’s mental status to determine if your child’s ability to process information has been affected.
Treating Sports Concussions
Every concussion is different, and every child who’s experienced a concussion requires an individualized treatment plan. Our sports concussion specialists customize treatment plans based on the child’s symptoms and test results.
Concussion treatment services include:
- Vestibular physical therapy: These are exercises that retrain the body’s balance system to correct balance problems or headaches.
- Ocular physical therapy: These eye exercises treat any visual disturbances caused by a concussion and can improve dizziness symptoms.
- Pain medication management, if indicated, helps your child stay comfortable.
- Physical and mental rest allows your child’s brain to recover from the concussion.
Post-Concussion Care: Returning to Sports After a Concussion
“When can I return to play?” is one of the most common questions after an athlete has a concussion. In the state of Texas, every athlete who has a concussion must be cleared by a physician before returning to play. In addition to physical challenges, your child may also experience learning obstacles as part of their recovery.
Our post-concussion care includes:
- Post-concussion protocols: As concussion oversight team providers, we coordinate with schools to develop post-concussion protocols. These guidelines are called “return to play” and “return to learn,” and help us determine when it’s safe for students to resume their activities again. Our team offers that same expert guidance to every patient and family.
- Personalized guidance: Our team coordinates with your child’s school, guidance counselor, teachers and athletic trainers to ensure every child or teen goes back to the field (and the classroom) at the appropriate time and in an effective way.
- Close follow-up: Our team uses objective metrics provided by the most advanced testing software to closely monitor patients in their recovery after a concussion.
Expert Concussion Guidance
“If my child had a concussion, is he or she more likely to have a second one?” After a child has a concussion, it’s normal to have questions or concerns. As part of the treatment process, our specialists will counsel you and your child on how best to manage concussion risk, including
- How to recognize and treat concussions
- Strategies to prevent or reduce the risk of concussion
- Discussing possible long-term effects of playing a sport with a high risk of concussion
We also work with schools to perform baseline neurocognitive tests on athletes, which give us an excellent comparison tool after an injury. This allows us to better monitor a child’s injury and recovery.
To make an appointment, please call 469-303-3000.
More About Concussions
Find out what a sports concussion is, what causes it, how to recognize it and get a brief treatment overview.
Find out how a sports concussion is diagnosed as well as signs and symptoms of a concussion. Learn about baseline tests and why they are important.
Find out what you should do when a sports concussion is suspected as well as how to best manage it during the first 24 hours.
Find out the average sports concussion recovery window as well as when and how your child can return to playing sports.
Find out the precautions your athlete should take to help prevent a concussion.