Concussion Clinic

Concussions are a type of traumatic brain injury and should be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional trained in dealing with the chemical and physical changes concussion can cause to the brain. Our team at the Concussion Clinic is trained in the evaluation and treatment of concussions and post-concussion syndrome.

Why Visit the Concussion Clinic?

Concussion symptoms can present differently from person to person. It is important to see a trained professional as soon as possible after a bump or blow to the head.

We use evidence-based cognitive testing and treatments to quickly identify a concussion and develop a customized treatment plan to help you safely return to your usual activities.

Our Team

Our Concussion Clinic is staffed by

  • A licensed neuropsychologist
  • A neurologist
  • Speech language pathologists
  • A physical therapist certified in the treatment of brain injuries and balance disorders

If you think you should see a licensed professional in our clinic, call 850-431-5056.

Understanding Concussions

A concussion is not a “bruise to the brain.” A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow or injury to the head that causes your head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce and twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain and causing chemical changes within. These chemical changes make the brain more vulnerable to further injury. During this vulnerable time, the brain is also more sensitive to stress.

Concussion Symptoms

A concussion may:

  • Briefly "knock you out"
  • Make you feel dazed
  • Affect your ability to remember the event

Testing After Concussion

The damage caused by a concussion may require additional neurological and cognitive testing:

  • CT
  • MRI
  • Neuropsychological evaluation
  • Balance/vestibular assessment
  • Cognitive testing

You should seek advice from healthcare professionals before you return to play in sports or return to daily activities such as work and school.

Frequently Asked Questions About Concussions

It is important to know how to identify if you or someone you known may have had a concussion. Seeking help quickly will help minimize the likelihood you will experience lasting side affects such as memory loss, develop post-concussion syndrome or reinjure your brain.

What are the signs and symptoms of concussion?

Cognitive Signs

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information

Physical Signs

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Balance problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Low or no energy
  • Sensitivity to light or noise

Emotional Signs

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Heightened emotions
  • Nervousness or anxiety

Sleep Disturbances

  • Sleep disturbances after a head injury could also signal a concussion:
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Having trouble falling asleep

If I think I might have a concussion, what should I do?

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

A health care professional will be able to decide how serious the concussion is and when you can return to your normal activities.

  • Follow your health care professional’s instructions
  • Be honest about your symptoms

Rest

Concussions take time to heal. Resting is critical.

  • Don’t go back to your normal activities until a health care professional says it’s OK
    • There is less energy available to help the brain repair itself
    • Resuming normal activities too quickly increases the chance of having a second concussion
    • Multiple concussions can cause permanent brain damage
  • Low-stress activities (reading, playing video games, watching TV, texting) also tax the brain and delay recovery
  • Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep

Nutrition & Medication

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use (slows down your recovery)
  • Avoid caffeine and energy drinks (may interfere with sleep)
  • Avoid sleeping aids and sedatives unless your health care professional advises you to take them

Return Slowly and Gradually to Your Routine

Avoid activities that are physically demanding or require a lot of concentration in the beginning.

How do you prevent concussion?

  • Wear a seat belt every time you are in a motor vehicle
  • Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Wear a helmet when:
    • Riding a bike
    • Playing contact sports
    • Skating/skateboarding
    • Riding a horse
    • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Remove throw rugs and clutter from walk ways
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet or in the tub/shower
  • Keep stairs clear of clutter
  • Install non-slip mats in the tub/shower

Misconceptions and Little Known Facts About Concussion

  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
  • If you have ever had a concussion, you are at increased risk for another concussion
  • Falls are the most common cause of concussion
  • Young children and teens are more likely to get a concussion and take longer to recover than adults
  • Concussion can lead to depression in some people
  • Almost half a million ER visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI) are made by children ages 0 to 14 years
  • Adults aged 75 years or older have the highest rates of TBI-related hospitalization and death
  • More males than females sustain a TBI