Concussion Specialist

A concussion is a potentially serious injury that can occur because of an impact to the head or body. Children with this condition need prompt treatment and ongoing monitoring to ensure proper healing. The experienced professionals at SportsSafe offer diagnostic services and treatment options for patients with the symptoms of a concussion. Parents in the Austin, Texas area, can make an appointment by contacting SportsSafe today.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or body that changes the way the brain functions. Concussions can vary in severity, with some patients experiencing minor symptoms and others developing chronic disabilities.

What causes a concussion?

A concussion occurs when a patient’s brain moves rapidly in the skull. This can happen after a hit to the head or a hit to the body that causes head movement. The injury damages cells in the brain and in rare cases can cause bleeding inside the brain.  

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Some of the symptoms of a concussion may include:

  • Headache or pressure in the head
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vision changes
  • Light or noise sensitivity
  • Dizziness or balance difficulties
  • Temporary loss of consciousness
  • Fatigue or sleep disturbances
  • Fogginess
  • Trouble concentrating or memory loss
  • Emotional changes

How does SportsSafe diagnose a concussion?

When a patient comes in with a possible concussion, the SportsSafe providers will perform a complete neurologic exam.  Additionally, they will gather a detailed history and order any necessary tests to determine whether the patient has a concussive injury.

In most cases, this appointment takes 60 minutes to complete.

What treatments are available?

Rest is often the best treatment for a concussion. While the brain heals, the child won’t be able to play sports or participate in any other activity that poses a risk of another injury. Depending on the severity of the condition, children may even need to stay home from school or have shortened school days temporarily. As the concussion heals, children can increase their activity level.

How long does it take to heal from a concussion?

Most children will recover from a concussion completely within 2-4 weeks. However, some children may recover more quickly, while others may need more time to return to normal. SportsSafe will release a child to return to sports and other restricted activities after the child has a normal neurologic exam, a normal neurocognitive exam, and has been free of concussion symptoms for at least 48 hours. Surprisingly, younger children take longer to recover from a concussion than older adolescents and adults.

Do all patients recover?

Most children with a concussion will recover. However, some patients continue to experience symptoms for more than 4 weeks. This is known as persistent post-concussion symptoms. This may last a prolonged amount of time and often requires multidisciplinary care from different specialists.


Head Injury vs Concussion. What’s the difference?

Both a head injury and concussion are typically caused by a hard hit to the head. Both should cause soreness on the head at the site of the hit and may cause a large, localized bump or bruise as well. A head injury alone causes localized pain and localized injury to the skin and should cause no other symptoms, whereas a concussion should present with additional symptoms. With a concussion, the patient’s brain moves rapidly in the skull causing symptoms of brain cell injury (see symptoms below). Typically, this occurs after a hard hit to the head, or a hard hit to the body, causing whiplash.
So, what’s the key difference? If you have a child who sustains a hard head hit and only reports soreness at the site of the hit and denies all other symptoms listed below, this is likely a head injury and is not a concussion. However, if after a hit, symptoms are mentioned in addition to soreness at the site of the hit, it’s worth getting evaluated for concussion.

Suspect a concussion?

First Steps of Action:

  • Stop current activity and do not resume any contact activity
  • Monitor behavior, if any Red Flags are noticed, go to the ER
    1. Loss of Consciousness for >1min
    2. Uneven Muscle Weakness or Sensory Loss
    3. Severe Loss of Balance
    4. Repeated Vomiting (2 or more times)
    5. Continued Amnesia or Confusion >1hr
    6. Symptoms continue to worsen in severity
  • Seek initial evaluation by an on-site provider, such as your child’s athletic trainer or school nurse. Then, contact your child’s pediatrician for evaluation.
  • When an evaluation is needed in the evenings or weekends, try After Hours Kids. They’re open nightly. Go to to schedule or call 512-499-2452 after 6pm.
  • For headaches Tylenol is recommended during the first 3 days after the injury
  • When directed by your athletic trainer or pediatrician, schedule an appointment for evaluation with SportsSafe. We typically perform initial evaluation 3-5 days after injury.

Common Symptoms:

Your child may report symptoms such as:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Balance difficulties/dizziness
  • Light or noise sensitivity
  • Feeling down, sluggish, hazy, confused
  • Trouble with concentration

You, as the parent, may notice your child is:

  • Not acting like themselves (They can seem more irritable or emotional)
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
  • Having difficulty with coordination or balance
  • More forgetful
  • More easily confused 

Concussion Facts

  • Most people who sustain a concussion do not lose consciousness.
  • Though most kids/teens don’t recognize this, seeing stars and “bell ringers” are signs of a concussion
  • Often younger athletes take longer to heal. On average, concussion recovery takes 3-4 weeks.
  • Recovery is typically slow and steady. It requires more rest, time, listening to one’s body and stopping an activity that is greatly worsening symptoms.

Need an evaluation? How SportsSafe can help:

  • Neurologic exam and injury assessment tests (cognitive, balance, and eye tracking).
  • Communication with school personnel (athletic trainers, coaches, nurses, academic advisors) relaying academic & athletic accommodations during the recovery process.
  • Clearance to return to sports and activities (Texas law requires any athlete with a suspected concussion to be seen and cleared by a physician before returning to play)