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Sports Concussion

Comprehensive Concussion Care

Two girls heading a soccer ball simultaneously.

Schedule An Appointment

Call 844-DRSPORT (377-7678)

Location

9333 Genesee Avenue
Map and directions

New Law May Help Prevent Concussions

Governor Jerry Brown signed a new law aimed at preventing concussions in middle school and high school students. Dr. Shahtaji of UC San Diego Sports Concussion Clinic believes this is a step in the right direction.

bulletRead the full story

 

Our concussion experts believe that every athlete with a suspected concussion deserves a comprehensive evaluation and customized plan of care. We provide baseline testing as well as expert concussion diagnostics and treatment following head injury to ensure that you can return to sport safely.

Anyone who is hit during sporting activity – in the head or somewhere else on the body – and does not feel "normal" in the head, should consider the possibility that he/she has a concussion.

Although headache and dizziness are the most common symptoms, there are many other signs/symptoms of a concussion. These may appear immediately or even days later.

Why Seek Professional Help

When it comes to concussions, it’s better to play it safe and have your injury assessed by an experienced professional. Diagnosing a head injury on your own can be dangerous, especially since symptoms may not appear until later. Furthermore, what may appear to be a concussion may actually be a more serious head injury that involves brain damage or bleeding.

An untreated concussion can result in:

  • Prolonged symptoms (delaying an athlete’s safe return to play)
  • Second impact syndrome: A condition that occurs when an athlete whose brain is still healing from a concussion returns too early to sport and sustains another blow to the head. This second blow can cause a sharp decline in an athlete’s mental state, usually resulting in permanent brain damage (and in some cases, death).

If you’ve been hit in the head during competition or training and would like our experts to evaluate you, call 844-377-7678.

Meet Our Sports Concussion Specialists

 


Treating A Sports-Related Concussion

Who We Treat

We care for athletes of all levels and ages, including:​

  • High school
  • College
  • Club
  • Recreational
  • Professional/elite

Our evaluation and testing procedures provide the highest level of care needed for all sports concussions.


Services

Boxer incurs a head injury from a right hook.

Initial Evaluation After a Head Injury: What to Expect

At your initial visit, you will meet sports medicine specialists who are skilled in evaluating sports concussions.

You'll receive:

  1. A diagnosis
  2. Education about concussion care and prevention
  3. A recovery plan

In some cases, your recovery plan may require further examination and treatment by additional members of our sports concussion team (e.g., neurologists, physical medicine and rehabilitation experts).

When you call to make an appointment, we will verify whether or not your insurance will cover a concussion evaluation. If you do not have insurance, cash prices apply.

Comprehensive Evaluation

What The Pros Use

Our team uses the most comprehensive tests available, including the new C3 Logix concussion management system. This system thoroughly tests each athlete in all areas of a concussive injury.

We also use ImPACT, a scientifically validated, computerized neurocognitive testing system.

ImPACT is used by NASCAR, NFL, NHL and MLB.

Using industry-standard tests, a sports medicine physician and staff athletic trainer will assess symptoms such as:

  • Orientation
  • Memory
  • Concentration
  • Neurocognition
  • Balance
  • Vestibular status

Baseline Testing: Playing it Safe Before Injury Occurs

Individual athletes and groups/teams can receive baseline testing either in our clinic or a sports facility.

A baseline test helps to establish your “normal” responses in things like balance, memory, and cognition. This is often done before the season starts so if a head injury occurs, our experts can evaluate you based on your individual "normal."

Our baseline testing can be individualized (based on your level of athletics) and usually takes up to 45 minutes to complete. We offer ImPACT testing as part of our baseline testing procedures.

Baseline testing is not covered by insurance as it is a preventive measure. Group/team prices may be negotiated.


What Is A Concussion?

Think You Have A Concussion?

If you think you have a concussion, get evaluated immediately by a trained health care professional who is experienced in concussion treatment. Afterward, call our team for a comprehensive evaluation: 844-377-7678. The type of evaluation we perform is not offered in the emergency department or most physician's offices.

A concussion is a type of brain injury that changes the way your brain normally works. It can be caused by a jolt, blow or bump to the head or body.

While a concussion is described as a mild brain injury (not life threatening in most cases), the aftereffects of a concussion can be serious.

What Happens During A Concussion?

The brain is not fixed; it is actually suspended in cerebral spinal fluid within the skull. A sudden blow or jolt can cause the brain to shake quickly back and forth. When this happens, axons (long threadlike part of a nerve cell) become damaged.

Axons are responsible for transmitting messages between nerve cells in the brain – without them, nerve cells are unable to communicate. Blood vessel damage in the brain may also occur, which can cause swelling and inflammation.


Symptoms

Football players going head to head.

How Soon Do Symptoms Appear?

In most cases, symptoms will appear immediately. However, sometimes symptoms may not appear until days or weeks after the incident.

Signs Of A Concussion

Symptoms can be so subtle they may only be recognized by an experienced healthcare professional. In the event of trauma to the head or body, it’s always best to get assessed by an expert so you can quickly get the care you need.

The number one reported sign of a concussion following impact is a headache. Dizziness is the second most common symptom. 

Concussion symptoms:

Did You Know?

  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Athletes who have had a past concussion have a higher risk for another.
  • Children and teens are more prone to concussions and take longer to recover than adults.
  • Headache
  • Difficulty recalling information
  • Feeling stunned or dazed
  • Feeling slowed down, drowsy
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability
  • Emotional
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of sadness
  • Sensitivity to light and/or noise
  • Sleeping more or less than usual

Unless otherwise approved by your doctor, you should not return to mentally or physically demanding activities while you are still having symptoms.


Preventing A Sports-Related Concussion

Coach assisting a player with a head injury.

While preventing concussions is challenging, it should be an important focus during daily sporting activities, not just for athletes but coaches, administrators and parents as well. 

Head injury prevention insights:

  • In football, proper tackling technique has the best outcome for reducing concussions.
  • In sports with less contact (e.g., soccer, basketball, baseball), it is important to teach body and visual awareness to help decrease the chance of a collision.
  • Heading a soccer ball has long been studied for its effects on concussions. However, there are currently no research studies that have definitively determined that heading causes concussions. There may be evidence that better neck strength and stabilization may lessen the chance of sustaining a head injury. 

Helmets

Currently there is no evidence that a helmet will prevent you from having a concussion. Helmets were initially created to protect your head and face from trauma like fractures, lacerations, and mouth injuries. The creation of the helmet has led to a faster, harder hitting athlete.

It's important that you choose a helmet that is specifically made for the activity you're going to use it for. For example, cycling helmets are single-use helmets: they are designed to withstand a single intense blow to the head and should not be used again after impact occurs. Football, lacrosse and hockey helmets, on the other hand, are designed to withstand many small blows.

Another thing to avoid are add-on helmet devices such as external soft covers and internal shock reducers. Sports helmets are tested and certified by NOCSAE and already include all of the materials necessary to reduce the risk of a head injury. After-market products or alterations made to a helmet made after testing voids NOCSAE certification and should not be used.