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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

The Current State of Concussions

Published June 10, 2011 7:21 AM by Brian Ferrie

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD- A strong crowd turned out on Thursday to attend the afternoon session, "Understanding and Implementing Current Practice Guidelines for the Evaluation and Management of Sports-Related Concussions." This offering was dually presented by Scott Livingston, PT, PhD, SCS, ATC, and Scott G. Piland, PhD, ATC.

"Mild traumatic brain injury is a frequent and dangerous injury among athletes at all competition levels," noted the session synopsis in the conference program. "So there is a need for accurate and reflective education regarding the scientific advancements and knowledge base for concussion. Sports medicine professionals must gain a working understanding of concussion in order to capably recognize, evaluate and manage this injury." 

In this presentation, Drs. Livingston and Piland examined current practices in the context of history, definition and recognition; evaluation; medical referral; return-to-play; special populations; prevention and medical/legal implications. Particular emphasis was placed on key sports medicine professional guidelines and recommendations for evaluation and management of concussion.

Dr. Livingston, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky, opened the session by noting three critical issues in assessment and treatment:

1. Confirming the diagnosis

2. Differentiating concussion from other pathologies

3. Determining recovery to permit safe return to sports.

Dr. Piland, a faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi, took the podium about halfway through the presentation and emphasized two important points to the audience: "[Health care professionals] do not fully understand the injury. We also do not fully understand our measures." He concluded the session by explaining the various paths of a "Decision Flowchart" pertaining to acute assessment.

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