Dr. Daniel E. Kraft, director of Riley Sports Medicine, specializes in treating children and adolescents.
sees many concussions, which he
defines as "a bruise on the brain."
stresses the importance of immediately removing the injured athlete from competition to avoid further damage to the brain and nerves.
Most are required to rest, often in a dark room, and to avoid taxing themselves mentally and physically.
Before they return to action, most injured athletes are required to pass the ImPACT test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), a 20-minute computer comprehension test, which can be administered by a school nurse or an athletic trainer.
It measures reaction time, attention span and problem-solving skills, and is usually administered soon after injury and after the athlete has had time to recover.
"It gives us an idea, kind of a road map, of what the patient's functioning is normally, and then after they get injured, that road map needs to be the same as it was before," Kraft
ImPACT tests are becoming standard for every athlete who has sustained a concussion.
says, athletes should take the test before their seasons start so coaches and doctors have a benchmark to follow.
The long-term effects of concussions vary based on the severity, Kraft
stresses the importance of taking care of each concussion.
"Bad things can happen if you have another concussion injury on top of the concussion that's not healed completely," he