Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has created a sports concussion program with resources specifically designed for the assessment and management of sports-related concussions.
Daryl Rosenbaum, M.D., an assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine who is specially trained in sports medicine, said that the program will incorporate ImPACT, a neurocognitive test that grew out of 10 years of university-based research and has been implemented at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels of sports.
ImPACT is a 20-minute test that documents and evaluates verbal and visual memory, attention span, brain-processing speed, reaction time and post-concussion symptoms. Athletes can establish their baseline cognitive status with the computerized test. They can take a quicker sideline test, if needed, or the computerized testing may be given following a concussion to track recovery. A patient with a suspected concussion can take the test before a physician examination, giving the physician additional information. If the player has had a previous baseline test, results from both tests will be compared.
Rosenbaum and Jong-Yeol Kim, M.D., assistant professor of neurology, are co-directors of the sports concussion program. This comprehensive program for the evaluation and management of patients with concussions includes physicians from the family and community medicine department who are trained in sports medicine, as well as physicians from the orthopaedic surgery and neurology departments, and neuropsychologists and physical therapists.
Physicians often rely on observations and symptoms that the patient reports to diagnose a concussion, Rosenbaum said. “This gives us an additional tool to objectively evaluate a player’s cognitive status, their recovery and whether or not they can return safely to sports.” For prolonged or complicated cases, concussion patients can see specialists and have access to advanced testing and rehabilitation options.
Most concussions are not recognized, particularly if the symptoms appear minor, Rosenbaum said. The severity of the concussion and the continuation of symptoms are both important in managing and treating concussions, he said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates as many as 3.8 million concussions occur in the United States each year. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, headache, nausea, balance problems, blurry vision, fatigue, and memory problems. Symptoms can fall into several categories, including physical, cognitive, emotional or even sleep problems.
The concussion program at Wake Forest Baptist was developed by physicians from sports medicine and neurology. The sports medicine physicians serve as team doctors for Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, the Twin City Cyclones, the Winston-Salem Warthogs, University of North Carolina School of the Arts dancers, as well as multiple local high schools.
Rosenbaum is conducting a class at BestHealth®, the community resource center at Hanes Mall, at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 4, titled “Confused About Concussions?” that will include an explanation of the technology and procedures that enhance diagnosis and treatment of this common injury.
For more information about sports medicine and the concussion program, call (336) 716-8091 or go to the website at wfubmc.edu/sportsmedicine/.
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Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital, Brenner Children’s Hospital, Wake Forest University Physicians, and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine and Piedmont Triad Research Park. The system comprises 1,154 acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and has been ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report since 1993. Wake Forest Baptist is ranked 32nd in the nation by America’s Top Doctors for the number of its doctors considered best by their peers. The institution ranks in the top third in funding by the National Institutes of Health and fourth in the Southeast in revenues from its licensed intellectual property.