A concussion specialist is a licensed health care professional certified in identifying, treating, and managing mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in patients.

Certification requirements may vary depending on the state and the professional organization awarding recognition. Specialists typically have completed formal training or coursework in mTBI and stay up-to-date on state, national, and international guidelines for concussion patient diagnosis and care.1

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Why see a concussion specialist?

It is becoming more and more common for primary care physicians to refer patients with concussion symptoms to concussion specialists. These specialists have extensive experience treating concussions and understand the specific needs and concerns of concussed athletes.

Concussion specialists provide comprehensive care and focus on returning athletes to sport, work, and school. Concussion specialists can help their patients create and follow an effective recovery plan based upon their age, activity level, work or school schedule, symptoms, and other factors. Appropriate treatment and a proper management plan may speed recovery and yield better outcomes.

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Concussion specialist or concussion center?

In recent years, several multidisciplinary sports concussion centers have opened around the U.S. These centers incorporate many specialists into one clinic. For example, a concussion center may provide patients with access to neurologists, sports medicine physicians, neuropsychologists, physiatrists, physical therapists, and other specialized physicians, all of whom have concussion training and expertise. By working together, these specialists can offer more comprehensive care.2

Certain people may be particularly well served by an entire team of specialists, including:

  • People who have a history of concussion
  • People who are at high risk for additional head injury
  • People who have other health issues

A team of specialists can address the different health issues that can be caused or exacerbated by a concussive event.

References:

  1. Pennsylvania Medical Society. Overview of Pennsylvania’s Concussion Legislation. PAMED. 25 February 2014. Available at http://www.pamedsoc.org/MainMenuCategories/Government/LawsAffectingPhysi.... Accessed on 11 November 2014.
  2. Massachusetts General Hospital. Treatment Programs: Sports Concussion Clinic. MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Available at http://www.massgeneral.org/children/services/treatmentprograms.aspx?id=1689. Accessed 20 October 2014.
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