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Concussion Center

The UHS Concussion Center provides a full spectrum of services for concussion management, including prevention, assessment, diagnosis, education, medical treatment, rehabilitation, and return-to-learn and return-to-play evaluation and clearance. We have physicians in all of the most relevant specialties, including Sports Medicine, Neurology, Neuropsychology, Physiatry, and Neurosurgery, as well as a large number of physical therapists who specialize in concussion treatment. Our goal, from our employees in schools and on sidelines to in medical offices and at rehab, is to identify, rehabilitate, and return concussed athletes back to the field as soon and as safely possible.

The scientific understanding of concussions and the medicine built on that science is rapidly evolving. Much about how we manage concussions has changed in the last few years. Whereas in the past concussion treatment was “just to rest,” today there are many proactive methods to help rehabilitate a concussed individual. This is why it is fortunate that our community has a concussion center with specialists who are current on the latest treatments.

Why Choose the UHS Concussion Center?

The UHS Concussion Center is by far the largest and most-advanced center for concussion in the Southern Tier of New York. We employ more athletic trainers and concussion-specialized physical therapists than any other health system in the region. UHS is the only system in the Southern Tier to treat concussion-related brain injuries that employs a full spectrum of doctors in relevant specialties including Sports Medicine, Neurology, Neuropsychology, Physiatry, and Neurosurgery. We are the only local hospital system with board-certified Sports Medicine physicians, of which we have several.

UHS is the only hospital system in the Southern Tier and one of only a handful in all of New York State with a Sports Medicine Fellowship, through which we provide sub-specialization education to physicians pursuing extra training in sports medicine topics, including concussion management.

If you have a concussion, you can get cutting edge care right in the Binghamton region by coming to the UHS Concussion Center.

Why Do We Care About Concussions?

Concussion is a diagnosis with potentially serious consequences. Having one’s “bell rung” used to be thought of as a benign injury and concussed athletes were expected to shake it off and get back in the game. We have now known for decades that concussions can cause severe and long-lasting symptoms, and evidence continues to grow that the brain needs time and treatment to recover from a concussion. Sustaining too many concussions, or sustaining a hit to the head soon after a concussion, can cause exponential worsening of symptoms. This can cause prolongation of recovery, academic and professional underachievement, depression and mental health problems, and increased susceptibility to future head injuries. Sustaining multiple persistent concussions has been implicated in several types of dementia, including Parkinson’s-associated dementia, Alzheimer’s dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Second impact syndrome is caused by sustaining a second hit to the head in the vulnerable period soon after a concussion and is a rare but tragic cause of severe brain injury and death in athletes.

All of these risks can be greatly reduced if people learn to recognize a concussion, speak up when they think they have experienced or witnessed a concussion, remove any individual with a suspected concussion from play immediately, and seek appropriate medical treatment.

When Should I Suspect a Concussion?

A concussion should be suspected if there has been both:

  1. Hitting or sudden acceleration of the head/brain, and      
  2. Any ensuing symptoms such as:
    • Headache
    • Dizziness or poor balance
    • Sensitivity to light or noise
    • Blurry vision
    • Feeling in a fog
    • Feeling generally not right
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Drowsiness
    • Trouble concentrating or remembering
    • Irritability or emotionality
    • Fatigue
    • Confusion
    • Sadness
    • Nervousness or anxiety
    • Brief loss of consciousness

If a person has both of the above, a concussion should be suspected and the individual should be removed from sports until evaluated by a provider trained in concussion care.  Because the potential harm of ignoring a concussion can be severe, there is a saying in concussion care: “If in doubt, sit them out.” Then keep them out until they have been evaluated by a provider trained in concussions.

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