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Managing a patient’s concussion is a collaborative task involving medical professionals across the team, the school or employer, as well as the patient and/or guardian. With HEADCHECK HUB, completing the tasks associated with concussion management is easier than ever. Ultimately, it allows you to spend more time with your patient. In the palm of your hands, you can:
- Conduct post-injury assessments
- Customize a treatment plan
- Coordinate with other physicians, therapists and trainers
- Collaborate with the team and coaching staff
- Establish return-to-learn plans with the school
- Communicate the return-to-work protocol
- Evaluate the athlete for return-to-play
- Stay in touch with the athlete or guardian regarding ongoing progress
- Protect the patient’s privacy
How to Manage a Concussion
Managing a concussion isn’t quite as cut and dry as treating other injuries, like strains, sprains, or even breaks or injuries requiring stitches. The brain behaves differently from patient to patient and even from injury to injury. The grade or severity of the concussion will influence the required medical care and management protocol enacted. Concussion management guidelines should be established on a case-by-case basis by a trained and licensed medical professional. A common concussion management protocol may include:(1)
- Rest for the body.
- Rest for the brain (reducing thinking, screens, reading, and more).
- Slowly reintroducing activity.
- Evaluating how the athlete responds to increased activity.
- Slowly reintroducing thinking.
- Evaluating the athlete’s response to active brain exercises.
- Creating return to learn, return to work, and return to play protocols.
How to Manage Concussion Symptoms
The evaluation of an individual for a suspected concussion includes observed signs as well as self-reported symptoms. Not all concussions cause the same reported symptoms, but there are some common ones. Pay attention to the patient-reported symptoms, as well as the signs and symptoms reported by a parent, guardian, or coach. Many of these can be managed to help reduce the severity and improve comfort. Frequent symptoms associated with concussions include:(2)
- Sensitivity to light and sound
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling “not right”
- Change in personality
Some of these symptoms can be treated. On a case-by-case basis, as appropriate, encourage the concussed athlete to:(1)
- Treat headaches and pain with acetaminophen, not a pain reliever that could also act as a blood thinner.
- Reduce light and sound; sleep as needed.
- Drink proper fluids to remain hydrated.
- Stop driving until they are medically cleared, especially if they have experienced dizziness.
- Continue to coordinate with their medical care team and seek medical attention for new or ongoing symptoms.
Partner with the patient, their family, their team, and other medical professionals to provide the best in concussion management and care.
- “Recovery from Concussion.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Feb. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_recovery.html.
- “Concussion Signs and Symptoms.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Feb. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html.