The Sports Neurology Clinic at IBJI
Our care team provides neurological services and outreach to patients, athletes, teams and the community at large. In addition, we provide ongoing brain health management to athletes to help to maximize brain health, prevent injuries, increase awareness and improve performance. Through these unique programs, and our commitment to excellent patient care, research and education, The Sports Neurology Clinic at IBJI continues to define the highest standard of care in brain health.
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 baseline testing?
6. What types of baselines tests are there?
7. What is ImPact?
8. What other baseline tests are there?
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, 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:
- The Sports Neurology Clinic at IBJI
Q5: What is baseline testing?
Baseline testing is a measure of an athlete’s performance in various areas, which is then used for comparison when the athlete is injured and these tests are repeated.
Q6: What types of baseline tests are there?
There are many different ways to approach baseline testing. The most widely used is ImPACT, though there are several other types of testing.
Q7: What is ImPact?
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. To learn more about baseline testing at IBJI click here.
Q8: What other baseline tests are there?
In addition to ImPACT testing, The Sports Neurology Clinic at Illinois Bone and Joint offers Neurological Pre-Participation Evaluations. These are evaluations completed by a concussion specialist focused on neurological and concussion history, cognitive function and neurological exam. To learn more about Neurological PPEs click here.
IBJI is the first approved concussion education provider for the state of Illinois, as authorized by the IHSA
Baseline Testing Locations