Concussions are mild traumatic brain injuries and require prompt attention and personalized care to maximize recovery.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by an injury to the head, face, neck or other part of the body that sends an impulsive force to the head, resulting in a wide range of symptoms that may or may not include a loss of consciousness. Some concussion symptoms appear right away, while others might not be noticed for days or even weeks after the injury.

At MU Health Care, we have a concussion care team that includes caring, experienced professionals who can ensure your concussion is properly evaluated and treated to avoid potential long-term effects of a head injury.

Concussion symptoms

If you are experiencing any of the following concussion symptoms after a head injury, see a doctor for a medical evaluation.

  • Changes in behavior or mood
  • Changes in vision
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory difficulties
  • Sleep disturbances

If you experience more severe concussion symptoms, such as those listed below, visit an urgent care or emergency room.

  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Inability to be woken up
  • Headache that doesn't go away
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness
  • Decreased coordination
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Unusual behavior or increased confusion
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Loss of consciousness

Concussion Treatment Program

The key to properly treating concussion is early diagnosis and intervention. If you or a loved one might have suffered a concussion, it’s important to be evaluated by a health care provider soon after injury — even if you do not think you have symptoms.

The ideal treatment begins with an evaluation by a doctor within 24-48 hours of the injury. Your provider will complete a comprehensive evaluation and refer you to the proper specialist or therapist for further treatment.

MU Health Care’s Concussion Program is designed to help those who suffer a concussion avoid the potential long-term side effects of head injuries. With quick diagnoses and personalized treatment plans, we’re proud to offer a full range of care to help you through every step of recovery.

Our concussion care team includes providers from several areas:

  • Mizzou Therapy Services. This includes occupational, physical and speech therapists.
  • Neurology, neuropsychology and neuro-ophthalmology.. Our neuropsychologists can help adults and children understand and manage how your concussion affects their behavior.
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation. This includes outpatient medical treatment and management of concussion recovery.
  • Sports medicine. These physicians often provide early assessment and diagnosis of concussions suffered during sports.

Your concussion treatment at MU Health Care

With our program, patients can expect timely access to concussion evaluations by experts who provide the proper diagnosis by using the latest diagnostic and therapeutic tests. Our team will work with you to develop a personalized, evidence-based care plan.

This care plan includes close oversight of return-to-activity clearance, initiated as early and as safely as possible. It also includes ongoing counseling as applicable, such as prevention against future traumatic brain injuries and second impact syndrome, short brain rest and more.

Our concussion program assists in obtaining work and school accommodations during recovery. And as an academic medical center, you will have access to innovative research on concussion and traumatic brain injury.

Sports Concussion Clinic

Because time is a critical factor in treatment and recovery, MU Health Care offers a Sports Concussion Clinic for anyone at risk of concussion. This includes athletes of all ages in all sports of all ability levels, as well as coaches, referees and spectators.

Athletes who suffer a head injury need quick, expert care not just for their health, but also to ensure they can return to their sport as quickly and safely as possible. Our Sports Concussion Clinic offers timely diagnosis and extensive treatment plans for athletes of any age.

Complete concussion care requires a variety of disciplines. Our Sports Concussion Clinic includes doctors specializing in neurology and orthopaedic sports medicine as well as athletic trainers who have experience in concussion diagnosis and treatment.

Our concussion treatment and management services include, but are not limited to:

  • Medical evaluation with a neurologist and athletic trainer or physiatrist
  • Imaging and testing as needed
  • Physical and cognitive evaluation
  • Pain and medication management
  • Concussion education
  • Care coordination and referrals
  • Therapy services

Concussion recovery

For the first 24-48 hours after a concussion, you should rest. After that, you should return to normal activities gradually and with supervision of your provider or therapist. Research shows that an active recovery process is more beneficial compared to a prolonged period of rest.

Support for recovery

If you are a caregiver, friend or peer, the best thing you can do is educate yourself on the condition so you can provide support during the recovery process. Concussions can be a difficult injury not only physically, but emotionally as well. If you have questions, please call 573-884-6932.