Developing Smarter Ways to Treat Concussions in Young Athletes

Every 25 seconds, a child athlete is admitted to the emergency room due to a serious sports injury. That adds up to 1.35 million total ER visits each year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, an international non-profit organization aimed at preventing unintentional childhood injury. Researchers used data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System to complete the survey. Concussions account for 163,000 of the visits, and young athletes (aged 12-15) are suffering concussions just as much as high school athletes. Children have a much harder time recovering from concussions than older athletes. At Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex, our neurosurgery and sports medicine department is dedicated to providing better solutions for concussed athletes. Below is a blog from ATC, Tee Spinks, on the treatment options for athletes with a head injury.

Concussions and Baseline Testing by Piedmont Orthopedics

Concussion discussion and management continue to be a prevalent topic in sports medicine. With each year, new research and management protocols are becoming available. Piedmont Orthopedics was the first practice in Middle Georgia to embrace diagnosing and treating sports related concussions. Piedmont has a concussion team that includes athletic trainers and a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kevin Stevenson. Our complex uses ImPACT concussion testing to assist with diagnosing and treating athletes suspected of a concussion. We are the only Credentialed ImPACT Consultant in the area.

Recently, several sports have taken a computerized cognitive baseline test using ImPACT. The purpose of the baseline test is to measure baseline report so that if a concussion occurs, the athlete can take a post-injury test and a comparison can assist with the diagnosis and treatment. It is important to note that the test is not the only diagnostic tool used when diagnosing and treating a concussion. So what exactly does the test show? The test measures multiple aspects of cognitive functions in athletes, including:

  • Attention span
  • Working memory
  • Sustained and selective attention time
  • Response Variability
  • Non-verbal problem solving
  • Reaction Time

If an athlete is suspected of a concussion, our protocol is to remove the athlete from competition until a complete evaluation can be performed.

In the future, we plan to test all athletes involved in sports that might produce a concussion. We encourage all parents and athletes to visit the ImPACT website ( to familiarize the signs and symptoms of a concussion and treatment. Should you have any questions regarding concussions or ImPACT testing, please feel free to contact us at Piedmont Orthopedics at (478) 474-2114.

Tee Spinks ATC/LAT
Director of Sports Medicine
Piedmont Orthopedic Complex

posted 05/01/2017 in Sports Medicine

Tags: concussion, impact testing, head injury, sports medicine, football, cheerleading


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