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NYU Langone Launches Comprehensive Concussion Center

NYU Langone adult and pediatric experts in sports medicine, neurology, pediatrics and brain injury rehabilitation launched the Concussion Center – a unique,  multidisciplinary program developed to provide comprehensive care for this increasingly prevalent and potentially complex condition. The Center was announced yesterday at a community symposium, "Head Injuries and Concussion in Sports: What You Need To Know" to nearly 200 attendees.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year in the U.S., 1.7 million people sustain traumatic brain injuries, resulting from sudden trauma to the brain. Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or concussion, accounts for at least 75 percent of all traumatic brain injuries.

“There has been a great deal of attention recently on the dangers of concussion in professional athletes as well as younger players,” said traumatic brain injury expert Steven R. Flanagan, MD, the Howard A. Rusk Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine and chair, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center, and co-director of the new Center. “We are only just beginning to understand why some people are more susceptible to long term affects of a head trauma – and there is a tremendous need to continue educating the public about the realities of treating and preventing additional injury following a concussion.”

The Concussion Center offers an access point to the latest diagnostic tools and expert clinicians across a wide range of disciplines to address the multi-dimensional physical and cognitive effects that can result. In addition to Dr. Flanagan, the Concussion Center is led by NYU Langone experts Laura J. Balcer, MD, professor and vice chair, Department of Neurology and Dennis Cardone, DO, associate professor and chief of primary care sports medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

“Generally, most people can recover from a concussion within seven to ten days,” added Dr. Cardone. “But concussions are complex and there is a population who may have short- and potentially long-term effects that can impair various physical and mental aspects of a person’s health and require specialized care and coordinated resources.”

The Concussion Center is composed of clinicians from a wide range of specialties, including neurology and neurosurgery, physical medicine and rehabilitation, orthopaedic sports medicine, emergency medicine, nursing, neuropsychology, neuroradiology and occupational and physical therapy – including vestibular (balance) and vision therapy. These specialists will diagnose, treat and manage all aspects of recovery from concussion, help patients and families cope with lingering effects, and offer direction on return to sport and school guidelines.

The Center is focused on providing collaborative care through a team that works closely together with the Program Manager, a registered nurse specially trained in care management and transitions, who oversees each patient’ personalized, multi-specialty care.

In addition to clinical care, Center experts also research and provide education on concussions by making services and resources available to the community, schools and families that promote awareness, prevention and prompt recognition of head injuries. The advancement of the knowledge and understanding of the science of concussion is key to the Center’s goal of establishing an evidence-based approach to treatment.

Any person that has one or more of the symptoms below following an impact or sudden and sharp movement of the head may have a concussion and should be evaluated by a medical professional:

  • Consciousness: Any loss of consciousness is a sign of injury and should be evaluated by a medical professional
  • Thinking: Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating or remembering new information (or “feeling in a fog”)
  • Physical: Headache, blurry vision, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sensitivity to noise or light, balance problems, fatigue or lack of energy
  • Mood: Irritable, sad, emotional swings, nervousness or unexplained anxiety
  • Sleep: Sleeping more or less than usual, trouble falling asleep

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