Seeking prompt care for a concussion is crucial to starting the recovery process, as a concussion can affect your ability to attend school or work and keep you off the playing field. At the Duke Sports Concussion Clinic, we’ll perform a thorough screening and evaluation to assess your concussion injury. Our specialists will personalize your treatment to help you return to health and the activities you enjoy.
About Sports Concussions
A sports concussion can occur following direct contact, such as a head-to-head hit or hitting your head on the ground, or indirect contact, such as a hit to the body that causes your head to move or turn quickly.
Concussions can cause a variety of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, neck pain, balance impairments, vision issues, noise or light sensitivity, exercise intolerance, and fatigue. Mental symptoms may include concentration difficulties, memory issues, or fogginess. In addition, a concussion can affect your ability to sleep normally.
Our sports concussion specialists perform a thorough evaluation and screening to identify what problems you may be having and recommend appropriate treatment.
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.
Your first appointment will be with a primary care sports medicine doctor or sports neurologist. These are concussion experts who specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and management of sports concussions in competitive and recreational athletes. Your evaluation will include the following tests, which may be repeated after treatment to assess your healing progress.
We will evaluate your hearing, vision, strength, sensation, coordination, and reflexes.
These tests screen for problems with memory, word recall, and mental processing that may have resulted from a concussion.
Cervical Spine Screening
A blow to your head or body can cause cervical spine (neck) pain, which may be associated with headaches and dizziness. This screening will assess your posture, neck movement, and strength to determine whether your pain is contributing to your concussion symptoms.
Concussions can cause you to feel off balance. Balance is controlled by the proprioceptive, vision, and vestibular systems. We assess these systems with the Sway mobile app, which uses the accelerometer in a cell phone to provide an objective measurement of balance in different positions.
These tests evaluate how well your eyes move in all directions; whether you’re having problems such as blurry vision, double vision, or light sensitivity; and how well your eyes function while you’re trying to read.
The vestibular system provides sensory input that helps with your balance and your orientation in space. Simple tests, such as having your eye follow a finger or staring at a focused point and moving your head, can cause you to feel dizzy if your vestibular system is impaired.
Why Choose Duke
Recognized Concussion Specialists
Our concussion specialists lecture at concussion management meetings around the country and follow the latest international guidelines in concussion management. Our physicians have participated on NFL committees on traumatic brain injury management, in similar groups at high schools and colleges throughout North Carolina, and on subcommittees on concussion with organizations like the American Academy of Neurology.
High School Collaboration
Our high school outreach program allows us to coordinate post-concussion academic modifications with your school and teachers. We complete state-mandated Gfeller-Waller return-to-play paperwork for high school athletes.
This testing is offered pre-season to athletes to obtain baseline values for cognitive function, vision, Sway cognitive and balance testing, and the King-Devick test. Results can be compared with any post-injury assessments to help with concussion evaluation. This testing is available for a fee, as it is not covered by insurance.
The Duke Sports Concussion Clinic is committed to providing evidence-based treatments. Our clinic performs and participates in ongoing concussion research studies to enhance the quality of care and contribute to the growing body of literature around sports-related concussion.
Duke sports medicine specialists are the official team doctors for all Duke sports teams.