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Health Information Concussions

Play Smart: Test your brain before and after a concussion

Severe blows to the head top the worry list of most parents who have a child playing contact sports. More troubling is a second concussion that occurs before the brain has recovered from the first; it can cause permanent brain damage or even death.

Since some symptoms of a concussion don’t occur until days after an injury, it’s difficult to determine when an athlete is ready to get back in the game. That’s why Rush now offers a new screening tool — called ImPACT — to help evaluate a concussion’s severity.

Shaun O’Leary, MD, PhD, a neuro-surgeon at Rush, collects preseason baseline data by having adult and child athletes take a test that measures brain processing speed, memory and visual motor skills. He then compares the preconcussion data with postconcussion data to make a medical judgment about the concussion and the athlete’s “playability.” Since the ImPACT system stores data on historic norms for each age group, the test can even be used with athletes who did not take the baseline test.

“All concussions are serious, but often players wrongfully think it shows strength to play injured,” O’Leary says. “With ImPACT, though, we can objectively measure cognitive function to ensure we are allowing enough time for healing and recovery.”


 

Neurological Care at Rush

The neuroscience program at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is considered among the nation’s best. From using deep brain stimulation to eliminate the tremors of Parkinson’s and other movement disorders to applying minimally invasive approaches to treating the spine and brain, experts at Rush are helping to revolutionize care for patients at Rush and around the world.

At Rush, our team is on the leading edge of advances in medicine, whether it’s a new minimally invasive technique or a novel drug. Because Rush is an academic medical center, our patients benefit from all of the latest innovations, including some that are unavailable anywhere else in the world.

For more information about care for neurological conditions visit the Neurological Care home page.

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