Concussions: The neurosurgeon’s role and the current scientific evidence and management strategies.

Neurosurgeons often manage patients with extracranial injuries that have concomitant concussions. In these cases, neurosurgeons are often the only “concussion experts” that patients encounter.

In recent decades, concussions have received unprecedented attention from the scientific community. The definition of the term has become more refined, and epidemiological data have revealed how remarkably common the injury is.

A neurosurgeon’s intimate knowledge of various head injuries from similar mechanisms gives a distinct advantage in the ability to educate athletes about the possible consequences of their injury. In the past, involvement in concussion management has been less than that of trainers, sports medicine physicians, rehabilitation specialists or other primary care providers. This is mostly attributable to the limited supply of neurosurgeons and the mostly non-surgical pathology of concussions.

Neurosurgeons are limited in number but critical in their knowledge when complication arises. They can provide a solid foundation for those that do provide “frontline” care and be willing to provide assistance and insight whenever consulted. A few neurosurgeons however, have already taken the initiative and are getting more and more involved such as Dr. Tanvir Choudhri, MD or some one like Dr.Robert Cantu, MD who already leads on the frontline role of dealing with concussions. Read more about the role of Neurosurgeons in this, in-depth, study published by Surgical Neurology International.

Categories: Concussions in sports

Comment: 1

MariaTheresa March 8, 2013 2:47 am

As a high school oficfial I have seen the evolution of concern over concussions, and rightly so over the last several years. A release was just sent out 2 days ago by the PIAA, the governing body for school sports in PA. It itemized the rules to be followed if an athlete shows any signs of concussion at all. He/she may not re-enter the game unless a doctor (not a trainer) is on staff at the game and authorizes it. In other words that athlete is pretty much done if the the oficfial feels so. I believe this is the right approach. In my 39 years of officiating I’ve seen some serious head injuries that were not treated with the same caution and could have resulted in tragedies. When I was a football player years ago I suffered several concussions, and went back in the game. I remember that feeling, and it was very unpleasant, but I did what the coach told me to do. This is why informed adults need to be in charge of situations like this, because the athletes will do whatever the coach instructs.

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