Concussion Management for Full Recovery
At Catholic Health, we take concussions very seriously. That's why we have an entire team of professionals working together to ensure you are fully recovered, both physically and mentally. St. Charles Hospital (Port Jefferson, NY) is one of Long Island’s leading authorities in treating concussions.
St. Charles Hospital is also the only hospital on Long Island accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) for comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient medical rehabilitation for adults and children.
Frequently Asked Questions
A concussion is a common but serious traumatic brain injury that is the result of a direct or indirect blow to the head, often seen in contact sports. Even something as simple as a mild bump or “ding” to the head can be serious. Concussions can occur without any loss of consciousness.
Visual signs of a concussion include:
- Appearing to be dazed or stunned
- Behavior or personality changes
- Loss of consciousness—even briefly
- Memory loss
- Moving clumsily
- Slow to answer questions
Symptoms of a concussion include:
- Balance deficits
- Feeling “foggy”
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to light
- Sleep disturbances
- Vision problems
There is no single test for concussion. It is important to see a physician with specialty training in concussion management if you suspect a concussion may have occurred.
Our physicians examine reported signs and symptoms of concussions. We test for balance, vision, reaction time, motor speed, memory and more. When assessing student athletes for concussions, we consult with the athlete's parents or caregivers to gain insight about changes in the patient's behavior and academic performance.
St. Charles Hospital established ThinkSMART!™ in response to an identified community health need. The ThinkSMART!™ Concussion Management Program includes concussion education, baseline testing and concussion treatment. It is Long Island's leading resource for the evaluation and treatment of concussions.
The ThinkSMART!™ program is for student athletes and individuals who have sustained, or are at risk of, concussion. It provides a continuum of care from injury through recovery and eventually a safe return to sports.
The ThinkSMART!™ program includes:
- Baseline neurocognitive testing—Using ImPACT™, all student athletes participating in contact sports as defined by the American Association of Pediatrics can receive baseline testing.
- Concussion management clinic—After an injury, student athletes will be evaluated by ImPACT™-certified physicians with specialty training in traumatic brain injury and concussion. Following this assessment, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to maximize recovery and a safe return to play.
- Education—Our trained professionals will provide educational lectures to coaches, parents, athletic trainers, school nurses and others as requested by the school district regarding concussion management and the ImPACT™ testing. ImPACT™ is an online tool for baseline and post-injury testing. It measures visual and verbal memory, reaction time and processing speed to determine if a patient can safely return to activity.
- Emergency department—Athletes will be seen by ImPACT™-certified physicians with specialty training in concussion management.
- Return to play progression—Under the supervision of trained health care professionals, the student athlete will be stressed physically and then retested further to ensure a safe return to the playing field.
This comprehensive program ties together St. Charles Hospital’s expertise in the prevention, evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injuries.
Sports therapists are an integral part of ensuring a safe return to play for athletes with concussions.
Sports therapists include:
- Sports physical therapists—guide athletes through a series of drills that test performance during light physical activity, sport-specific activities, non-contact training exercises and more.
- Vestibular therapists—specially trained to help relieve dizziness for athletes whose concussions left them with inner ear damage. They use advanced technology to assess the complex sensory activity involved in the act of balancing.
Concussions & Athletes
Dr. Jennifer Gray, St. Charles Hospital physical medicine & rehabilitation medical director, discusses how a concussion affects an athlete.