Concussion Diagnosis & Management
The UPMC Concussion Network experts follow a truly unique approach to concussion rehabilitation – creating every patient a personalised plan based on active treatment and continual re-examination.
What is Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury caused by a direct or indirect hit to your head or body.
Your brain sits inside your skull surrounded by fluid. When your head takes a hit — as often happens in contact sports — your brain shifts or shakes around inside the skull.
The impact disrupts your brain cells, causing chemical and cellular changes in the brain.
Concussions are not to be ignored, they need proper diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.
Concussions aren’t just found in athletes – anyone that has recently had a direct or indirect hit to their head or body is at risk.
Symptoms of Concussion
Concussion is not a one-size-fits-all injury. No two concussions are alike, even in the same person.
Concussion symptoms can vary drastically from person to person and aren’t always obvious. Some can show up right after the injury whilst others may present days or weeks after the initial incident (post-concussion syndrome).
Most of the time, concussions do not involve a loss of consciousness.
The most commonly presenting symptoms following a suspected concussion injury include:
Changes in Mood
Concussion Side Effects & Complications
Side effects of a concussion cause changes in how the brain functions, such as reduced reaction time. This can increase your chance of getting another concussion if you return to play before seeking treatment. Repeated concussions can cause problems, such as lasting cognitive issues.
Examples of side effects include:
- Reduced reaction time
- Memory problems
- Concentration problems
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling tired and sluggish
- Difficulty paying attention
- Episodes of confusion
- Increased levels of anxiety and stress
If signs of a suspected concussion are left unreported and untreated, it can lead to greater problems and result in further complications.
UPMC's Personalised Treatment Approach
Here at the UPMC Concussion Network, we believe no two concussion injuries are alike. The combination of sophisticated assessment tools and unbeatable clinical expertise ensures each patient is treated to the highest standards, with the methods suitable to their individual condition.
Our approach to diagnosis and management of concussion is to ensure that concussions, when properly managed, are treatable injuries not only for school-age children and athletes, but for people of all walks of life.
Comprehensive concussion care offered by UPMC Concussion Network Specialists include:
- A complete clinical history examination
- VOMS assessment
- Neurocognitive ImPACT® testing
- Neurovestibular exam
- Tailored rehabilitation plans with our trained physiotherapy teams including physical exertion and clearance testing
- Concussion sub-type diagnosis
This targeted evaluation and active management approach offers patients a scientific, evidence-based treatment plan to recovery and safe return to learn, work and play pathways.