As the fall season of sports gears up, so does concern for injuries including concussions. The Sports Reaction Center, a Bellevue, Washington-based physical therapy clinic, is working on concussion management. The goal is to make sure athletes return to action only once they’ve recovered.
There are two concerns where concussions are concerned. One is that when a concussion occurs, typically when contact is made with an opponent or teammate, the ground, equipment, or objects in the field, and the athlete returns to play the same day. When an athlete returns too soon he can risk repeat concussion and experiencing Prolonged Post Concussion Syndrome or Second Impact Syndrome. Another risk is Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is progressive neurodegeneration triggered by repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. The condition can evolve slowly over decades, and symptoms sometimes don’t occur for several years.
“It is never appropriate for an adolescent athlete to return to play on the same day as the injury, and it is also dangerous for adults – even professional athletes,” SRC founder Neil Chasan said. “Concussions are serious injuries that require close attention from medical professionals who understand how to effectively treat these injuries.”
SRC uses impact, or Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, and BESS, or Balance Error Scoring System, to understand multiple measures of cognitive function. The clinic performs tests using OptoJump technology, which is able to measure dual functions of the brain while active.