Longstanding treatments for concussions, such as rest and avoiding bright lights, can do more harm than good and are often not the right way to treat the injury, said a world-leading concussion expert.
Michael Collins, who was the keynote speaker at a concussion conference at University College Dublin on Saturday, said active rehab is now the best practice for getting the best concussion outcomes and that old treatments may have prolonged or worsened many people’s injuries .
At the Concussion in Sport – A National Conversation conference, experts in the field heard about the advances in treating the injury over the past several years.
“We’ve really learned over the last decade that resting in a dark room can be detrimental to results and that resting doesn’t treat that injury. It’s active rehab that addresses the issues,” said Dr. Collins Irish Independent.
“The key is to retrain or rehabilitate the affected systems in the brain that decompensate for a concussion. We have developed customized rehab programs to train these systems back to normal.
“Giving patients too much rest can lead to worse outcomes; It can cause anxiety, migraines, and many problems in patients that can fester and linger. Treating this injury requires rehab, not rest.
“We’ve made tremendous progress with this injury, we now know that there are different types of concussions that weren’t known before.
“We know that there are active and effective treatments for these different types of concussions, and that patients have different risk factors for these different concussions.
“There are very active approaches to rehabilitating these injuries and really improving outcomes when it comes to getting kids playing safely again,” said Dr. Collins.
The Clinic of the Director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program at the University of Pittsburgh is a renowned sports brain injury treatment and research center.
“You can handle it [long-term] Troubleshoot these injuries by treating them effectively when they occur. The single best way to avoid problems with a concussion is to treat it effectively as soon as possible when it occurs.
“We really want to educate on how to properly assess this injury and get people to the right clinical treatments that can improve outcomes.
“If we do this, we can mitigate problems that arise later. A concussion is a very treatable problem, but it’s all about recognizing it and getting them into specialized care with the right, targeted rehabilitation approach.”
Chronic brain problems like early-onset dementia and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) have been linked to repeated hits to the head in sports, but Dr Weg.
In addition to more targeted and effective treatments, according to Dr. Collins now identifies risk factors that can indicate whether a person is more prone to concussion or will have a worse outcome from concussion.
“We know that if someone has a history of motion sickness; Fear; if they had or have a lazy eye; if you are a woman – all of this comes with a longer recovery period.
“But the best predictor of outcome is how quickly a person seeks out a clinician.
“Having patients’ awareness is the most important factor,” said Dr. Collins.
There are six different types of concussion responsible for up to 20 different symptoms, and patients must be treated as individuals because “all six concussions can be aggregated into one concussion,” said Dr. Collins.
Ireland is among the best countries in the world for concussion treatment, said Dr. Collins as many clinicians have gone to Pittsburgh to be trained to deliver the treatments developed at the UPMC Clinic in Ireland.
The UPMC clinic owes a debt of gratitude to the late Dan Rooney, former US Ambassador to Ireland and former owner of American football’s Pittsburgh Steelers, said Dr. Collins.
The UPMC last year partnered with the Royal College of Surgeons to set up a concussion community on behalf of the sports enthusiast.
dr Collins has attended a variety of events across Ireland to educate people about the right steps to take to improve a child or player’s chances of a speedy recovery.
“It’s about getting people into specialist clinics so they can be treated and have quick screenings done.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there about concussions. We are here to correct the record of progress made,” said Dr. Collins.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/concussion-in-sport-resting-in-a-dark-room-can-do-more-harm-than-good-expert-warns-against-misinformation-surrounding-treatment-42016098.html Concussion in sports: “Rest in a dark room can do more harm than good” – expert warns of “misinformation” about the treatment