An estimated 300,000 sports-related traumatic brain injuries are reported in the United States each year. Concussion is the most common sports-related brain injury, second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of traumatic injury among 15 to 24 year-olds.
A concussion is caused when the brain is jarred by a severe blow or jolt to the head, and temporarily affects brain function including memory, balance, judgment, and cognitive processing. It may lead to the development of several physical, cognitive, emotional and sleep-related symptoms. Often times, brain structure is not damaged during a concussion, which means that diagnostic tests, such as CT scans and MRI tests will look normal.
Properly diagnosing concussion and seeking treatment early helps athletes recover more quickly, and this is the reason KORT developed its new Concussion Management Program.
“As the leading provider of on-site sports medicine to area schools, we are constantly looking for ways to help our student athletes recover and return to play as quickly and safely as possible,” said Doug Means, KORT Director of Sports Medicine. “Our concussion management program will help us more accurately monitor a player’s condition and give the physician more information to aid him or her in managing the athlete’s recovery.”
About the KORT Concussion Management Program
In tandem with Impact an on-line educational testing organization, students will take an initial test via computer to determine a neurocognitive baseline. This score is individual and is not compared with other student’s scores, but will be used as a guide should the student become injured. The cost of this initial test is $1 per student for schools contracted with KORT. All tests are retained securely on-line and can be transferred with the student should he or she move out of the area.
If a student athlete is injured during play, Certified Athletic Trainers (ATCs) working in coordination with team physicians on the sidelines will assess and effectively manage concussion injuries. If a concussion is suspected, the athlete will be referred to a medical specialist such as a neurologist for further assessment.
Through the Concussion Management Program, KORT will be able to offer post concussion testing as well. Using the initial base line cognitive test as a comparison, a report is generated for the athlete’s physician to help aid in determining an athlete’s readiness to return to play. Also useful is the Biodex Balance System which helps determine an athlete’s recovery by testing balance, motor control and assesses any dizziness issues. At the direction of a student athlete’s physician, KORT will test the athlete and provide additional data that the physician can use to further assess if the athlete is ready to return to play.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Concussion
It is important for everyone, parents, coaches and athletes, to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
- Physical symptoms may include: severe headache, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, dizziness, visual problems, fatigue, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to noise, numbness or tingling.
- Cognitive symptoms include: feeling mentally “foggy,” feeling slowed down, difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering recent events or conversations, confusion about recent events, repeating questions.
- Emotional signs include: irritability, sadness, more emotionally expressive than normal, nervous.
- Sleep-related issues include: drowsiness, sleeping more than usual, sleeping less than usual, trouble falling asleep.
In most cases, symptoms will subside within a week or two. Proper medical care and monitoring is essential to ensure the student has no long term effects.Testing
Interested students/parents who attend a KORT affiliated school should contact their school’s athletic trainer for a testing date and time. For a list of affiliated schools and athletic trainers, visit http://www.kort.com and click the sports medicine tab. Other students should contact Doug Means at dmeans(at)kort(dot)com
The KORT Concussion Management Program and testing process is HIPPAA compliant.
Locally managed and operated, Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT) is Kentucky’s premier provider of outpatient physical and occupational therapy services specializing in orthopedics, sports and industrial medicine. Since 1987, KORT has provided clinical and customer service excellence to patients in KORT clinics, at employer sites, and with high school, college, and professional sports teams. With more than 20 years experience in the Physical Therapy Industry, KORT operates over 35 clinics throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana, with more board-certified specialists than any other physical therapy provider in Kentucky. For more information visit http://www.kort.com