The Cushing Academy Athletic Training department recognizes that concussions and other brain injuries can be serious and potentially life threatening situations in sports. Recent research is showing that these injuries, if not treated properly, can have serious effects later in life. Clinical research has shown that an athlete’s balance and/or cognitive functioning are often affected following a concussion, even when self-reported symptoms are not present. The majority of concussions resolve within 3-10 days, but in some cases athletes can experience post-concussion symptoms for up to and beyond 3 weeks.
A concussion is defined as: a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain induced by traumatic biomechanical forces. Concussions occur when there are direct or indirect forces applied to the head resulting in trauma to the brain. The majority of sport concussions do not result in loss of consciousness, therefore, all suspected head injuries must be taken seriously. It has also been demonstrated that loss of consciousness does not correlate with severity of the injury in athletes with concussion. A more accurate indicator of concussion severity is the duration of concussion symptoms such as retrograde amnesia (memory of events prior to the incident), post-traumatic amnesia (recall of events after the incident), confusion, cognitive impairment, and other concussion symptoms.
When dealing with a concussion, it is important to take into consideration that no two concussions are the same and they are best treated on an individual basis. Management is based on reported clinical examination and cognitive testing. The decision to return a concussed athlete to play also needs to be assessed on an individualized basis. This decision will depend on clinical symptoms, previous history of concussion, the sport and position played, the athlete’s age and overall “readiness” to return to sports. Once the athlete is deemed ready to return they also need to go through a gradual return to play progression involving exertion and sport specific testing.
Cushing Academy’s concussion management and concussion assessment protocols are based on current research and best practices. These protocols have been reviewed by Cushing Academy’s medical director, Dr. Michael Mutchler and approved for use on all Cushing Academy student-athletes.
All new students participation on an athletic team will be required to complete a baseline neurocognitive assessment prior to participating in any contests. Cushing Academy utilizes the ImPACT neurocognitive testing program which is accessed on-line. This baseline test is one of many tools used when assessing concussions, return to school and return to play decisions.
If you would like further information regarding our concussion protocol please feel free to contact us.