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August's Healthspot: Concussion Management

Here in the Gunnison Valley we are fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in countless outdoor recreation activities from skiing to biking to kayaking. Unfortunately, those activities heighten the risk for concussion, which cannot always be prevented. Concussions have been described as one of the most challenging epidemics facing the athletic population today. Did you know that, while vitally important in reducing the risk for skull fracture and death, helmets do not necessarily decrease the risk for concussion? If concussions can’t be avoided, and helmets don’t necessarily prevent them, what can be done?

First and foremost, if you or your loved one sustain a concussion, it is important to make sure it is managed properly. An athlete with a suspected concussion should NOT be returned to play on the same day and should be evaluated by his or her primary care provider. After evaluation and improvement in symptoms, athletes should be guided through a graduated exercise progression and re-evaluated by their medical provider to ensure a safe return to sport. Returning to athletic activities too soon after a concussion has been shown to lead to prolonged recovery and puts an athlete at potential risk for a more catastrophic injury.

It’s no secret that concussions pose a serious risk to long term brain health. So take care of yourself by properly managing a concussion should you sustain one. If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact Gunnison Valley Health neurological specialist Kristin Grimes, DPT, at 970-641-7248.

For previous Healthspot topics, visit www.gunnisonvalleyhealth.org/healthspot