Concussions are among the forefront of sports medicine concerns and new research is coming to light rapidly. Our IBJI concussion specialists make it a priority to remain knowledgeable of current evidence based practice to ensure we are doing our best to offer our patients the highest level of care. Our IBJI Concussion Program covers the full spectrum of concussion management from baseline testing through post injury evaluation, diagnosis, rehabilitation and treatment. We follow a collaborative approach to facilitate recovery and our team is made up of Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Certified Athletic Trainers, and Physical and Vestibular Therapists, who are dedicated to ensuring our patients return to cognitive and physical activities safely.
Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding concussion management and ImPact Testing.
1. What is a concussion?
2. What are signs and symptoms of a concussion?
3. What should I do if I suspect a concussion?
4. How to schedule a visit with an IBJI Concussion Specialist?
5. What is ImPACT?
6. Why should athletes get baseline tested and what does it assess?
7. How do I schedule a ImPACT baseline test?
Q1: What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury which results in a temporary disruption of normal brain function. This occurs when the brain is violently rocked back and forth or twisted inside the skull as a result of a blow to the head or body.
A person does not have to lose consciousness (or be "knocked-out") to suffer a concussion.
Q2: What are signs and symptoms of a concussion?
Symptoms a concussed person may report can include any of the following:
- Headache or “pressure” in the head
- Nausea or repeated vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Does not “feel right” or is “feeling down.”
Signs which may be observed can include any of the following:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Confusion about a task
- Forgets an instruction
- Unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Answers questions slower than normal
- Loss of consciousness
- Mood, behavior, or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to hit
- Can’t recall events after hit.
Q3: What should I do if I suspect my athlete has a concussion?
If an athlete is suspected of having a concussion, he/she must be removed from all play, whether it be a game or practice. Continuing to participate in physical activity after a concussion can lead to worsening symptoms, increased risk for further injury, and even death.
- Avoid taking NSAIDs including aspirin, Advil, and Aleve. Consult a specialist prior to taking any pain reliever. Rest tends to be most helpful for relieving headaches.
- Avoid all physical activity including recess and gym participation.
- Avoid anything that worsens symptoms including TV, reading, texting, loud noise, bright lights, etc.
- Stay adequately hydrated.
- Schedule an appointment with a concussion specialist and inform your primary care physician of the injury.
Refer to an emergency room immediately with onset of any of the following signs/symptoms: weakness or numbness in arms/legs, decreased coordination, neck pain, repeated vomiting/nausea, pupil differences, ringing in ears, vision problems, slurring speech, seizures or convulsions, change in state of consciousness, increased confusion, unusual behavior, severe and/or worsening headache.
Illinois law requires that youth athletes involved in interscholastic athletic activity with a suspected or diagnosed concussion be cleared by a physician before returning to learn and returning to play, including resuming games and practices.
Q4: How to schedule a visit with an IBJI Concussion Specialist?
Our concussion specialists are capable of providing formal evaluation and management for patients with concussion and post concussion syndrome, including guiding the patient back to safe return of both cognitive and physical activities.
If you believe you/your child has suffered a concussion, please contact any one of the following clinics to access post concussion care with one of our concussion specialists:
- Dr. Hunt in Libertyville or Grayslake
- Dr. Parikh in Gurnee, Lindenhurst, or Lake Forest
- Kelly Trainor, APN, CPNP in Glenview, Logan Square, Morton Grove, Highland Park
Q5: What is ImPACT?
ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) is a scientifically validated computerized neurocognitive assessment tool. It is a sophisticated test of an individual’s cognitive ability that may help health care providers track recovery of neurocognitive processes post concussion. ImPACT is NOT a substitute for medical evaluation, diagnosis or treatment, but is intended to be used as part of a comprehensive concussion evaluation.
Q6: Why should patients get baselined tested and what does it assess?
A baseline ImPACT test is recommended, as it can provide a measurable comparison of your child’s pre and post injury cognitive abilities. ImPACT assesses the following aspects of cognitive function: attention span, working memory, sustained and selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving, and reaction time. It also assesses concussion symptoms and severity of those symptoms. While ImPACT testing is not diagnostic, having an understanding of your child’s baseline abilities is beneficial when the clinician is making return to activity decisions after a concussion. Our team of concussion specialists are skilled in interpreting baseline and post-injury testing results and we have several offices that offer complimentary baseline testing.
Q7: How do I schedule a baseline ImPACT test?
To schedule your complimentary baseline assessment, contact any of the Baseline Testing Locations as listed on the side of this page. Testing is offered Monday-Friday for patients age 12-59 years old.
IBJI is the first approved concussion education provider for the state of Illinois, as authorized by the IHSA
Baseline Testing Locations