Take Down Concussions

Every year in the United States, more than eight in ten sports-related concussions go unrecognized, putting the athlete at higher risk of long-term damage because of inadequate treatment.

While attention often focuses on concussions among professional football players, student athletes are at high risk as well. And it’s not just football players - girls’ soccer carries a high risk of concussion, followed by boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball.

Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth’s Sports Medicine Program is committed to improving the standard of care for athletes suffering concussion. Since 2008, GMC’s Sports Medicine Program has provided the Immediate Post-concussionAssessment and Cognitive Testing program (ImPACT) to high schools and the Gwinnett Football League.

Don’t Shake off Concussions
Although the majority of athletes who experience a concussion are likely to recover, some experience head trauma and other difficulties related to frequent injuries, including chronic headaches, fatigue, sleep difficulties, personality change and short term memory loss. The plethora of symptoms is referred to as post-concussion syndrome and can be quite disabling for an athlete, especially a student athlete who still needs to keep up with his or her academics. In addition to post-concussion syndrome, suffering a second blow to the head while recovering from an initial concussion can have catastrophic consequences, possibly even leading to death, so tracking the athlete’s recovery is especially important.

How the ImPACT Program Works
The ImPACT program was designed after approximately ten years of university-based, grant-supported research. It has been implemented effectively for youth, high school, collegiate and professional athletes alike.

In the preseason, athletes take the 20-minute neurocognitive computer test to establish a baseline score. If a concussion is suspected during the season, a follow-up test can confirm the injury and determine severity if the results have changed from the baseline. Clinicians can track athletes’ recovery through follow-up tests that can be administered over days or weeks. The ImPACT program provides invaluable information that can take the guesswork out of concussion management and promotes safe return-to-play decisions for athletes.

How GMC-Duluth is Helping Athletes
At Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth, the goal of our Sports Medicine Program is to provide injury prevention, immediate care and rehabilitation services to the community. Our program provides certified athletic trainers (ATCs) for professional teams, recreational leagues and high schools. These ATCs, under the direction of Gwinnett Medical Center-affiliated sports medicine physicians, provide comprehensive on-site medical coverage, concussion management through the ImPACT program, injury prevention programs and educational events.

Since 2005, GMC-Duluth’s Sports Medicine program has provided sports medicine services to 2.6 million athletes and 28,744 sports events at 189 different organizations. To learn more about one of the nation’s top sports medicine programs, and about ImPACT testing, visit gwinnettsportsmed.com. For a physician referral call 678-430-3223.


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