Jeffrey J. Bazarian, M.D., M.P.H., professor in the department of Emergency Medicine, led the development of new recommendations to assist emergency physicians caring for patients with sport-related concussion in the emergency department. Published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, the recommendations include information on making a prompt diagnosis, providing the best treatment and offering appropriate advice to patients and caregivers.
As chair of the American College of Emergency Physicians Sport-Related Head Injury Prevention Task Force, Bazarian drafted the recommendations with the help of emergency medicine colleagues from across the country. In the newly published article, the group highlights the important role that emergency physicians can play in mitigating headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other post-concussive symptoms that occur in the hours and days following concussion by adhering to best clinical practices. The group also emphasizes the role emergency physicians can play in preventing a subsequent sport-related concussion.
"Unlike concussions from falls or other accidents that are out of people's control, we have the unique opportunity to use the ED visit as a prevention tool to limit future sport-related concussions," said Bazarian, who treats patients and conducts research related to mild traumatic brain injury. "Through counseling while the patient is in the ED, emergency physicians can educate patients on things like the appropriate amount of physical and cognitive rest, the importance of following up with a primary care physician or specialist as needed, and the fact that continued exposure to head impacts could hurt their neurologic health in the long term."
The task force also calls for the development of evidence-based guidelines and additional research, including recognizing obstacles to identifying sport-related concussion patients in the ED; finding objective prognostic indicators of postsport-related concussion recovery; and determining the efficacy of medications commonly administered in the ED to treat concussive symptoms.
In addition to Bazarian, Pediatric Emergency Medicine fellow Gemmie Devera, M.D. contributed to the work. Concussion experts from Mayo Clinic, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Brown University, Baystate Medical Center, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Orlando Regional Medical Center, Emory University and Stanford University also contributed to the recommendations.