Head Injuries

Head injuries, especially concussions, are very popular topics in the sports medicine field right now. Concussions are more prevalent than ever in the professional sports world and proper treatment is critical to the wellness of the athlete. We've designed a head injury cheat sheet for parents, coaches, and players to have with them during games, practices, and at home. The purpose of this cheat sheet is to alert you and your family of the signs and symptoms of significant head injuries. Quite often these signs and symptoms do not appear immediately after trauma, but hours after the initial injury itself.

It is essential that the injured athlete remain under the observation of someone for the first 24 hours, but waking the athlete during the night is not necessary, unless the athlete suffered a loss of consciousness or is still experiencing significant signs at bed time. Do not consume alcohol, drugs, or medication unless a physician approves their use because they may mask certain symptoms. Avoiding computer use, watching television, and text messaging will decrease the possibility of further symptoms which may delay the brain's healing process. Driving and exercising while symptomatic can also delay the healing process, and should be avoided as well. It is important to rest and maintain a light diet during the initial stages of a head injury, and once a more severe injury is ruled. An ice pack on the head or neck may be used for comfort.

Click below for a printable version of our Concussions Signs and Symptoms Evaluation. For further information regarding concussion management and evaluation, please refer to the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) position statement.

IBJI Concussion Signs and Symptoms Evaluation Form

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About The Author

Paul Schmidt grew up in Arlington Heights, and went to Northern Illinois University where he obtained a bachelor degree in Physical Education/Sports Medicine, in 1995. He completed the Athletic Training Licensing exam upon graduation and immediately began Physical Therapy School at Hogeschool Enschede in The Netherlands. After graduating in 1998, Paul worked at Lutheran General Hospital in the Outpatient Sports Medicine Clinic as a physical therapist from 1999-2005, leading the department from 2001-2005.  In 2005, Paul began working for Illinois Bone and Joint Institute.  While at Illinois Bone and Joint, he has worked with local high school teams in injury prevention programs, and given numerous presentations including lectures for Rosalind Franklin University and presentations at The International Shoulder and Elbow Rehabilitation Specialists in Brazil. Currently, Paul treats patients as a Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer at IBJI in Glenview and leads our Sports Medicine Special Interest Group.