According to the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport: the 5th International Conference on Concussion in Sport, Berlin 2016:
” Sport-related concussion (SRC) is a traumatic brain injury induced by biomechanical forces.”
- This means that concussion is a brain injury that affects how the brain functions. Athletes may display symptoms that are physical (e.g. headache, dizziness), cognitive (e.g. problems with memory or concentration), emotional/behavioural (e.g. anxiety, irritability), and/or related to sleep/energy (e.g. fatigue, difficulty sleeping).
- SRC typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, signs and symptoms evolve over a number of minutes to hours.
- SRC may result in neuropathological changes, but the acute clinical signs and symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury and, as such, no abnormality is seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies.
- SRC results in a range of clinical signs and symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive features typically follows a sequential course. However, in some cases symptoms may be prolonged.
- The clinical signs and symptoms cannot be explained by drug, alcohol, or medication use, other injuries (such as cervical injuries, peripheral vestibular dysfunction, etc), or other comorbidities (eg, psychological factors or coexisting medical conditions).
- SRC may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an impulsive force transmitted to the head. It is recommended that athletes who receive this type of contact should be monitored for a suspected concussion.
- SRC is suspected when it is recognized that an individual appears to have either experienced an injury or impact that may result in concussion, and is exhibiting unusual behavior (signs and symptoms) that may be the result of a concussion.
- SRC is diagnosed by a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. Ideally this professional will have specific training and experience in the assessment and management of concussions.