New Technology in Concussion Diagnosis & Management

December 29, 2015 – 3 min read

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MRI software looks further into brain matter than ever before

More than 40% of coaches and more than 50% of parents would feel comfortable allowing child athletes who have received a possible concussion to return to play before getting an OK from their doctor, according to a survey in the recent study, “Post-Head Hit Return to Play Awareness in Parents and Coaches.” The report, led and presented by Edward J. Hass, PhD, director of research and outcomes at the Nemours Center for Children’s Health Media, was presented during the 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C. This is disturbing, but not surprising to us at American Health Imaging. Concussions have been a hot topic in the media given recent cases surrounding NFL players. In the 2015 movie, Concussion, Will Smith, plays Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who was the first to publish findings related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players. CTE can result from repeated concussions and traumatic brain injury. However, many parents remain unaware of the symptoms of a concussion and the fact that any concussion, and especially multiple concussions, can lead to serious brain injury, such as CTE. Concussions can be caused by a forceful bump, blow or jolt to the head or body that results in rapid movement of the head. It is important to note that concussions in children can occur outside of the sports arena as well. Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death. However, symptoms can be difficult to detect. The CDC provides a helpful assessment of sports-related concussions

Signs Observed by Coaching Staff Symptoms Reported by Athletes
  • Appears dazed or stunned (such as glassy eyes)
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets an instruction or play
  • Is unsure of score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily or poor balance
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior or personality changes
  • Can’t recall events prior to hit or fall
  • Can’t recall events after hit or fall
  • Headache or “pressure in the head”
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Balance problems or dizziness
  • Double or blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy
  • Concentration or memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Does not “feel right” or is feeling down

Source: CDC Heads Up Concussion In Georgia, the Return to Play Act mandates that all Georgia public and private schools create a concussion policy that at a minimum:

  • Provides parents or legal guardians with an information sheet that informs them of the risk of concussions.
  • Requires that any athlete participating in an activity exhibiting symptoms of a concussion be removed from play. and must receive clearance by a healthcare provider trained in the management of concussions prior to returning to play.

Additionally, public recreation leagues must provide an information sheet about the risks of concussions to parents or legal guardians of youth athletes as well as providing access to emergency loan lenders. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) can play an important, prognostic role in diagnosing mild traumatic brain injury and predicting outcomes, which ultimately can lead to more accurately prescribed treatments, according to a study presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. If you or your doctor suspects that your child may have a concussion, DTI can help ensure your child is not returned to play without proper evaluation and care.

Concussion Diagnosis & Management