Making a Diagnosis

Concussion can not be diagnosed through any one question, sign, symptom or test. It requires multiple modes of assessment that may well need repeating.

Concussion symptoms can present after 24 – 48hrs. Only 50% occur immediately and 47% occur in the absence of physical signs* This is what makes it such a difficult injury to diagnose and manage, especially in sport. (*ECB guidelines 2018)
There are useful pitch side tools available to assist in concussion recognition http://https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/bjsports/47/5/267.full.pdf

Also pitch side evaluation tools for medical professionals to use SCAT5https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/bjsports/early/2017/04/26/bjsports-2017-097506SCAT5.full.pdf

These tools help recognise a concussion, however, a referral to a doctor is required to make a concussion diagnosis. Any adult or child returning to sport after a suspected concussion should be cleared by a doctor to do so, as pitch side assessment tools are not valid in their use to rule out a concussion.

Because this is a complex process, concussion is not only easily missed and under-diagnosed, but often results in an unsuccessful return to school, work and sport. This is why seeking advice from a health care professional is vital to a full recovery post concussion. Post concussion recovery guidelines are coming up next..

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