Much media attention is falling on sports today due to rising awareness and concern about the dangers of concussions. While the spotlight so far has been primarily on football and boxing, cheerleaders are routinely exposed to the same dangers. If you or someone you love is at risk for cheerleading concussions in South Jersey, Rothman Institute wants you to be aware of the condition's most pressing and frequently asked questions.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that can alter the brain's function. Though usually caused by an impact to the head, they can occur anytime the head and upper body are shaken violently back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to shift or twist within the skull, damaging brain cells and/or creating chemical changes in the brain.
What are the Symptoms of a Concussion?
The list of concussion signs and symptoms is extensive. Some symptoms can be subtle and may not be apparent until hours or days after the trauma. Potential concussion symptoms include:
Headache or a sense of pressure in the head
Temporary loss of consciousness
Nausea and/or vomiting
Dizziness or "seeing stars"
Confusion, delayed response to questions
Ringing in the ears
Unexplained fatigue, falling asleep
Memory loss or inability to focus
Irritability and other personality changes
Sensitivity to light and noise
Psychological adjustment problems and depression
Disorders of taste and smell
- Appearing dazed
If your cheerleader is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your physician right away.
What is the Treatment for Cheerleading Concussions in South Jersey?
If your cheerleader has experienced a fall, impact, or other head trauma, it is important to consult your physician. Immediately following the concussion, you must wait 48-72 hours for your doctor's appointment to see what symptoms may appear. During a concussion exam, you and your athlete can expect:
A neurological exam - The doctor will evaluate your sensory responses, coordination, and reflexes using the ImPACT test. She or he may also test your memory, focus, and other cognitive function.
Imaging - Especially in cases presenting severe symptoms such as seizures, ongoing vomiting or headaches, and symptoms that are worsening instead of getting better, your physician may order a series of imaging scans such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computerized tomography) scan to assess whether brain bleeding is present.
- Specialized treatment recommendations - Depending on your cheerleader's condition, he or she may need to seek treatment for a time from a specialist to address vision or balance problems or a neuropsychologist to develop an individualized educational reentry plan.
Once all testing has been completed to your physician's satisfaction, your athlete must successfully perform the 5-step graduated return-to-play protocol, which begins with light jogging or riding a bike and moves up to full contact. Any concussion will require plenty of time and purposeful treatment in order to heal properly and receive a clearance note to return to cheerleading. Initially, this may mean avoiding general physical exertion, including sports or other any vigorous activities, until concussion symptoms have diminished.
In the first few days following a concussion, your doctor may also recommend limiting activities that require thinking and mental concentration, including screen time, schoolwork, reading, texting, or using a computer. Resuming sports or other vigorous activity too soon increases the risk of a second concussion and of lasting, potentially fatal brain injury. No one should return to play or vigorous activity while signs or symptoms of a concussion are present.
Seeking Treatment for Cheerleading Concussions in South Jersey
If you are suffering from a concussion, it is important that you do not take any risks. Visit Rothman Institute concussion program in South Jersey, where a concussion doctor will assess your case and ensure that you recover without complications. Our physicians are some of the most experienced specialists for cheerleading concussions in South Jersey, and they can offer comprehensive and caring treatment for you. For more information, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.
- Sports Concussions: Signs & Symptoms
- About our author Dr. Robert Franks, D.O., F.A.O.A.S.M.
- Treatments of Sports Concussions
- Everything You Need To Know About: Field Hockey Concussions
- The Women's Sports Medicine Program at the Rothman Institute is the first of its kind in the Philadelphia metro area and one of only several such programs specializing in the comprehensive care of the female athlete in the country.Read More