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Concussion Program

Concussion FAQs

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The SCORE team wants parents, coaches, youth and teachers to be informed about concussions. Please use this section to learn how to identify and treat concussion, and when to send kids back into the game or school.

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About Concussions

    The term mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is used interchangeably with the term concussion. A mild TBI or concussion is a disruption in the function of the brain as a result of a forceful blow to the head, either direct or indirect. This disturbance of brain function is typically not detected with a normal CT scan or MRI. A concussion results in a set of physical, cognitive, emotional and/or sleep-related symptoms and often does not involve a loss of consciousness. Duration of symptoms is highly variable and may last from several minutes to days, weeks, months, or even longer in some cases.

    A complete evaluation is important to determine the effects of the concussion and to develop an appropriate treatment plan. This will also be an important tool in deciding when the child is ready to return to normal activities including school, social activities and sports.

    Experts in Concussion Care

    If your child displays any signs and symptoms of a possible concussion / mild traumatic brain injury, it is important to contact a physician or a clinician knowledgeable about concussion as soon as possible. Research shows that if an injured athlete returns to the game or other contact activities before they are fully recovered, it can have serious long-term effects. Returning to school with an individualized support plan is also needed throughout recovery. A medical professional, like those in the Children’s National Safe Concussion Outcome Recovery and Education (SCORE) program, can help you and your child determine when and if it’s time to get back to school or into the game.

    The professionals at the SCORE program, including Gerard Gioia, Ph.D., and Christopher Vaughan, Psy.D., are available to help by providing appropriate evaluation, treatment, and concussion management. There are also many resources for parents, coaches, youth and athletic trainers at the SCORE program. To schedule an appointment at SCORE, please call 1-888-884-2327. For more information, call Katea Selby, the senior coordinator at 202-476-2429.

    General Concussion FAQs

    Learn the answers to general concussion frequently asked questions explaining how you can treat and manage a concussion.

    Are there different levels (grades) of concussions?

    Can the child still attend sports practices after a concussion, either to observe or participate?

    The child did not lose consciousness after a blow to the head. Does he or she have a concussion?

    How do I know when the child has fully recovered?

    When should my child return to school?

    How is a concussion managed?

    The child’s CT scan was normal. Does that mean he or she did not have a concussion?

    If a parent or coach suspects a concussion, should the child go to the Emergency Department or go to their pediatrician?

    What are other important facts to know about concussion?

    What is the treatment for a concussion? What can I do to help my child recover?

    After a concussion, when can I expect the child to be better?

    When can the athlete come back to practice and games?

    Why are concussions such a big deal now?

    Why is early intervention important?

    How do concussions impact mental health?

    Concussion Videos

    Learn how to spot and treat a concussion, whether you're a parent, teacher, physician or coach.

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