Concussion Management and Evaluation by Health Care Providers

Jamie Hillmer


Around 300,000 sports-related concussions are reported each year in the United States; however, the number may be between l .6 to 3.8 million recreational and sport-related concussions, since many go unreported (Halstead, Walter, and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, 2010; Scorza, Raleigh, & O'Connor, 2012). Concussions are a serious injury that can lead to prolonged symptoms and cumulative cognitive deficits in adolescent athletes. Concussion management has gained national attention due to recent legislation passed in 38 states regarding youth concussion laws (Sanford Health, 2011). This literature review intent was to condense relevant research on concussion evaluation and management in adolescent athletes. CINAHL, PubMed, Medscape, and other reputable internet sites were searched using key words: concussions, mild TBI, head injury, adolescents, youth athletes, high school athletes, nurse practitioner, family practice, diagnosis, evaluation, management, and return to play guidelines. A poster was presented to; physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. It included a brief introduction, purpose, methodology, and SD legislation information. Clinical implications of concussion included on the poster were: signs and symptoms, modifying factors, graduated return to play guidelines, and a clinical exam algorithm. Feedback was provided via a brief four question survey completed by the health care providers. The results showed that this information did increase the knowledge of concussion evaluation and management in adolescent athletes and current legislation in SD. Health care providers need to continue to seek out educational opportunities to stay up to date on concussion management and return to play guidelines for adolescent athletes.