Concussion in is its most basic definition is any abnormal brain function as a result of trauma. This includes a wide variety of symptoms that can result from direct or indirect injuries to the brain. Recent studies have shown 1 in 10 athletes who play contact sports will develop concussion during the current season of play. Concussions affect athletes in all types of sport including football, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, basketball, cheerleading among many others. Concussion is not reserved to athletes alone. In fact the majority of concussions occur outside the playing field. With recent media attention along with highly-publicized rule changes in professional sports, concussion diagnosis and management is among the most important services provided by Sports Medicine physicians.
Symptoms of concussion- Most people who suffer concussion experience headache and fatigue, though concussion symptoms may vary greatly. The symptoms of concussion can be broken down into major clusters of related symptoms including somatic, neuropsychiatric, cognitive and sleep disturbance. The somatic symptoms include: headache, light/noise sensitivity, nausea, dizziness, and visual problems. The neuropsychiatric symptoms include: increased emotionality, sadness, nervousness, and irritability. The somatic symptoms include: fatigue, cognitive fogginess, memory difficulty, attention problems, and mental slowness. The sleep disturbance cluster includes: difficulty initiating sleep, sleeping too much, and insomnia.
Concussion diagnosis and evaluation- Making a timely and accurate diagnosis of concussion is essential in treating this disease. PSFM physicians are trained in a variety of on-field and office based concussion assessments including standardized sideline evaluations, history taking skills, physical exam techniques, and appropriate implementation of neurocognitive testing. Most importantly, PSFM physicians utilize cutting edge, evidence based practices to implement the latest research in your care.
Return to Play: PSFM physicians advocate the national, international, and statewide standards of care when an athlete is ready to begin their return to activity. We direct and coordinate a 5-step return to play protocol which enables the safest and controlled return to play. As of December 7th, 2010, the State of New Jersey has put into law the New Jersey Comprehensive Concussion Safety bill (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2010/Bills/A3000/2743_R3.HTM). This states that every high school athlete needs medical evaluation, management, and clearance prior to return to play.
Impact test- We are an ImPACTTM certified concussion center. Our physicians are certified in administering and interpreting this computer-based neurocognitive test. This test serves as a clinical tool for both assessing baseline function prior to concussion and post injury as a tool to aide in management. ImPACTTM enables our physicians to evaluate one’s overall cognitive particularly in areas of function which may be altered as part of concussion. Furthermore, Dr. Wenger completed his sports medicine fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Sports Medicine. This center is a driving force in concussion research and is the academic center which developed the ImPACTTM test. He trained in this concussion center and brings cutting edge evaluation and treatments to New Jersey.
Concussion resources- Dr. Wenger provides evidence-based discussions and gives talks to various groups in the community. If you are interested in having Dr. Wenger speak in regards to concussion management please call 609-896-9190. For further information please see the following concussion resources.