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How Serious are Sports-related Concussions?

| Date Posted: 3/18/2015


Brandi Bossinger.jpg

Brandi Bossinger, P.T., DPT

And when can my child return to school and resume sports after having a concussion?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1.7 million Americans suffer traumatic brain injuries (TBI) each year, about one every 21 seconds. As a result, an estimated 5.3 million Americans live with a disability related to TBI. Many of these injuries happen on high school playing fields.

With school sports beginning again in the spring, it is time to take a look at concussion prevention.

Brandi Bossinger, P.T., DPT, helps explain sports-related concussions and the best way to help your child after an

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. The direct cause is from the rapid acceleration-deceleration of the brain due to a blow to the head or body that leads to jarring of the brain inside the skull.

Loss of consciousness isn't required for a diagnosis of concussion.

It is important to monitor your child’s symptoms, which may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Unexplained personality changes
  • Irritability
  • and more.

Your child may feel like he/she is in a fog or not act like him/herself for several days or weeks after the injury. If your child suffers a concussion, it is important to see your medical provider to ensure appropriate comprehensive care. Cognitive and physical rest is important to allow the brain to heal properly.

If symptoms do not subside on their own within a week of rest, your child may benefit from physical therapy for a vestibular and balance assessment and training.

Balance assessment at FirstHealth Rehabilitation includes the Clinical Test for Sensory Integration of Balance (CTSIB) that uses our Biodex Balance Master to determine which sensory system is affected. This is an important piece of information that can assist your provider in making the difficult decision on a safe return to sports for your child.

We fully assess balance, coordination, eye movements and the vestibular system to locate deficits and treat them accordingly. Your child is more likely to have a full recovery for a safer return to sport after vestibular rehabilitation.

Post-concussion, an athlete is five times more likely to suffer another concussion so it is important that your child never returns to sports while any symptoms are still present. The child can sustain another concussion with even less of a force or, worse, suffer a potentially fatal swelling of the brain.

FirstHealth Rehabilitation also offers Pre-Season Concussion Baseline Testing, a pre-season exam.

Baseline test results will be used to compare to a post concussion test. If an athlete has a suspected concussion during the season, this can help their health care team identify the effects and severity of the injury, and make more informed return to school and safe return to play decisions.


Brandi Bossinger, P.T., DPT, received a clinical Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY and vestibular certification through Emory University. She has been with FirstHealth Rehabilitation since 2008. 

For more information about Concussion Baseline Pre-testing and management and vestibular and balance rehabilitation, contact FirstHealth Rehabilitation-Aviemore at (910) 715-2600.



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