First 24 to 72 hours after a concussion:
- Patients are advised to contact their primary care physician at the time of the injury.
- Parents are educated on the signs/symptoms of concussion and are encouraged to begin tracking the symptoms using a "symptom check list." The parents and the student/athlete will continue to monitor symptoms using this tool throughout the duration of the concussion.
- Reasons to visit the emergency room:
- Any loss of consciousness
- Headaches that worsen
- Repeated vomiting
- Slurred Speech
- Inability to recognize people or places
- Neck Pain
CT scans have not been proven to be useful in the diagnosis or management of acute concussion, but may be useful with more severe head injuries.
First to Third Week Post Concussion:
- Symptoms may wax and wane in the first week. However, as a general rule symptoms should be slowly improving.
- A patient can return to school when symptoms are still present, but "tolerable."
- Physical activity and sports should be avoided until cleared by a medical provider. State law requires clearance for return by an MD, DO, NP, PA or doctoral level psychologist with training in concussion to protect from further, potentially serious, injury.
- At the Center for Concussion we provide medical treatments and/or therapies to help with recovery.
- Over the next 1 to 3 weeks, the patient should slowly increase cognitive demands as tolerated.
- When the patient is no longer having symptoms, is not requiring medication to control symptoms, and is back to normal workload in school, the medical provider can approve a supervised, graduated Return-to-Play protocol.
Fourth + Week Post Concussion:
- If the patient's concussion is taking longer than four weeks to resolve or symptoms are exceptionally severe, do not worry! At the Center for Concussion, we utilize a tertiary team to assist in the continued recovery from the concussion.
See also: Returning to School After a Concussion.