Sports Concussion

Duke specialists offer timely and effective care for sports-related concussions to children and adults of all ages. Concussions can cause a variety of symptoms including headache, dizziness, neck pain, balance impairments, noise or light sensitivity, concentration difficulties, or memory issues. Loss of consciousness may or may not occur with a concussion. A concussion can impact your ability to attend school and work, and keep you off the playing field indefinitely. We help you overcome the effects of concussion, and return you to your sport.

Comprehensive Sports Concussion Treatment

Concussions may occur when the head receives a blow, or is violently shaken after a hit to the body. Seeking concussion care promptly is crucial because it allows us to determine the severity of your injury, and start the process of helping you recover as soon as possible. North Carolina mandates that all student athletes be seen by a doctor trained in concussion management before they can return to sports activities

Our concussion experts specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis and management of sports concussions. We work regularly with Duke athletes, as well as competitive and recreational athletes. We understand your desire to return to your sport quickly. We use a variety of tests and treatments to help you get back to your normal routine as soon as your health permits.

Choose Duke for your sports concussion care because we offer:

  • Recognized leaders. Our concussion specialists lecture at concussion management meetings around the country, and follow the latest international guidelines in concussion management. Our physicians have been part of NFL committees on traumatic brain injury management, in similar groups at high schools and college throughout North Carolina, and participate in subcommittees on concussion with organizations like the American Academy of Neurology.
  • Fast access to concussion specialists. Your first appointment will be with a primary care sports medicine doctor or sports neurologist.  Depending on your needs, we can facilitate prompt referrals for you to the sports physical therapists, neuropsychologists, headache specialists, and speech pathologists who are all part of our sports concussion team.
  • Sports physical therapy. Research shows that physical therapy can help address symptoms associated with concussion including neck pain, headache, dizziness, and balance impairments. Our sports physical therapists are specially trained to identify factors that may contribute to these symptoms, and work with you on treatments and exercises to help you feel better. 
  • School collaboration. Our high school outreach program allows us to coordinate academic modifications following concussion with your coaches and teachers. We complete North Carolina-mandated return to play paperwork for high school athletes.


Most concussions are treated with brain rest. Limiting use of computers, mobile devices, and overall brainwork will help your brain recover faster. Recovery following a concussion usually takes between 1-3 weeks, but may be longer with more significant concussions. Your doctor will tell you how long to wait before resuming activities. If additional symptoms are identified, the following treatments may be recommended.


Because concussion can affect many different systems in the body, we conduct a thorough evaluation and screening to assess what deficits are present. Depending on your individual needs, the following examinations may take place.

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