High Index of Concussion Suspicion Needed on the Sidelines

Concussions can be subtle and often invisible. That's why coaches, parents, and teammates need to have a high index of suspicion.

See more videos with Dr. Julian Bailes.

A sports-related concussion is probably more prevalent than we used to think, but it's often a hard diagnosis to make. Ninety percent of the time the athlete is not knocked out. They're not unconscious. He or she is up and walking and talking and may seemingly be normal. Someone who is a bystander or someone who is a coach, an athletic trainer, a teammate, a parent, has to have a high index of suspicion. The symptoms of concussion often are subtle. They include headache, problems with memory, sometimes problems with balance, just not feeling right. For those who have had a concussion and gone back to the classroon, many times their ability to concentrate and their school performance drops. So the number one thing that we like to encourage, particularly coaches and anyone at a field for a game or practice, is to have a high index of suspicion. If there is any question to pull that player, he or she should come out of the game or practice, and they are evaluated. If there is any doubt at all, they sit out. They don't return to that game or that practice until they have been cleared by a licensed healthcare professional.
Posted on BrainLine April 16, 2012.

About the author: Julian Bailes, MD

Julian Bailes, MD is a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery and the impact of brain injury on cognitive function.

Julian Bailes

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