In recent years, concussions have made their way into the media more and more. Something that we once thought was a simple injury that could be shaken off is now being thought of as a serious injury. There are specialists who dedicate their practice to concussions. This type of injury is commonly associated with sports. Concussions are a common injury that occurs in sports especially football. It has been somewhat of a controversy this past decade because the NFL has made changes in their roles and regulations to protect the players from concussion injuries. Children and adolescents are also affected from these injuries. This article looked at how providers are supposed to handle young patients that have sustained a head injury.
Within 1 to 2 days of the injury, the patient should be presented to a physical to have symptoms checked. The patient should not be left unattended within 48 hours of the injury. Rest for the first 1 to 2 days is critical to the patient’s recovery. It is not, however, recommended for the patient to have prolonged bed rest. The notion that patients should rest until there are no longer any symptoms is not the preferred method of treatment anymore. Patients should return to school and normal activity within a couple weeks to avoid depression and other negative symptoms. Accommodations can be made but can usually be discontinued within 2 weeks.
A system was developed called SAFE (Symptoms, Assessment, Follow-up, Execute, and return to pay) to help providers decide what actions need to be taken with the patient. This system was made into a flow chart so that a provider can follow the protocol for each patient. This system can help determine when a patient should be referred to a specialist and what kind of tests need to be performed. It also helps figure out back to school and return to play times. There have been laws passed in all 50 states to help outline when a patient is ok to come to back and play for their sport. This article shows how important it is to have a standard method of treatment for patients with concussions. Each patient may be different, but this method could help make sure that the provider is doing their best to follows the protocol treatment for each patient.
ORTHOPEDICS. 2016; 39: 24-30