Head Injury Program
"Stay aHEAD of the curve!"
For questions about concussions or setting up an
action plan at your school, please call: Children's Sports Medicine - 205-934-1041.
About the Concussion Clinic
The Concussion Clinic at Children's of Alabama was established to provide evaluation, treatment and medical clearance for "return to play" for youth and teenage athletes in our community. The strength of the program lies in our interdisciplinary focus: skilled athletic trainers, nurses and physicians from the divisions of Emergency Medicine, Sports Medicine, Neurosurgery, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Neuropsychology, working together to optimize the management of children and adolescents who have suffered a concussion. Another important part of our mission involves working with the Alabama sports community to educate parents, athletic trainers, coaches and athletic directors about the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of concussions in young athletes.
The CDC estimates that as many as 3.8 million athletes suffer concussions every year in the United States. Sports with the highest rates of concussions include football and hockey, though significant numbers occur in other sports, including lacrosse, soccer, and basketball. The effects of these concussions on the developing and adolescent brain is unknown, but athletes who have had a single concussion are much more likely to suffer subsequent concussions. Younger athletes may also take longer than college and professional athletes to recover from concussions.
Most concussions are associated with symptoms like headaches, confusion, nausea, dizziness, and blurred vision. It is important to remember that fewer than 10% of concussions result in loss of consciousness. When a concussion is suspected, it is most important to immediately remove the athlete from the playing field and have him/her assessed by an experienced athletic trainer or on-field physician. Young athletes who return to play before resolution of their concussion symptoms are at higher risk for significant brain injury.
Return to Play
Athletes should not be returned to play the same day as the injury. When returning athletes to play, they should follow a stepwise symptom-limited program, with stages of progression. For example:
There should be approximately 24 hours (or longer) for each stage and the athlete should return to stage 1 if symptoms recur. Resistance training should only be added in the later stages. Medical clearance should be given before return to play.
Alabama State Law
Alabama state law mandates that all athletes who have suffered a concussion must be evaluated by a qualified physician before returning to play.