For Medical Professionals
“A concussion changes the brain’s electrochemical ‘software’ function,” said Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., division chief of neuropsychology at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “It produces physical, cognitive, and emotional signs and symptoms that can last hours, days, or even months.”
Clinicians play a key role in helping to identify, diagnose and manage concussions. Timely recognition and appropriate response is important in treating a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion. To learn more, visit the CDC Head's Up online training.
Individuals who sustain a concussion, including those who are not hospitalized or do not receive medical care, may experience long-term problems. Symptoms of a concussion may appear mild, but can lead to significant, life-long impairment affecting an individual's ability to function physically, cognitively, and psychologically.
Return to school/play management
When managing a student with concussion, a health care professional’s management plan should
cover both returning to school and to play, and should:
• Monitor both physical and cognitive activities
• Consider concussion history
• And be individualized to the athlete
Remember, while most athletes will recover quickly and fully following a concussion, some will
have symptoms for weeks or longer. Health care professionals should consider referral to a
concussion specialist if:
1. The symptoms worsen at any time,
2. Symptoms have not gone away after 10-14 days, or
3. The patient has a history of multiple concussions or risk factors for prolonged recovery. This may include a history of migraines,
depression, mood disorders, or anxiety, as well as developmental disorders such as learning disabilities and ADHD.