LowMed has developed the unique Cogstate manual in collaboration with Boksmart to help coaches and medics to identify and treat sportman concussion.
Concussion Testing at LowMed
The Lowmed concussion centre is the only centre in the Lowveld that provides the CogState tests and is the official concussion management centre of the PUMA rugby team. The centre provides the following services:
- Baseline test (CogState computer testing)
- All post-injury tests
- Medical doctor support and consultation for concussion
- Telephonic support
- Information packages on concussion
Concussion is an injury to the brain resulting from a direct or indirect force to the head that results in a disturbance of brain function.
The impact to the head, neck or other portion of the body results in the brain shifting inside the skull and knocking against the inner bony surface. This may be enough to cause microscopic shearing of nerve fibres and probably sets off a process of swelling and a series of chemical reactions; this not only affects the way the brain works (e.g. thinking and co-ordination) but makes the brain susceptible to further injury during the period of recovery.
By definition, the symptoms of concussion seem to resolve spontaneously over the course of time and there appears to be limited structural damage to the brain.
Why then should traumatic brain injury which is ‘mild‘ be taken seriously?
Should the condition not be correctly diagnosed and appropriately managed, symptoms are likely to persist for longer and hamper the recovery. As many of the symptoms listed represent changes to brain function, the developing brain of a young athlete may be significantly compromised not only in a sporting, but importantly also in a learning and social environment.
A Post-Concussion Syndrome comprising persistent headaches, sensitive eyes, poor concentration, fatigue and drowsiness, and disturbed sleep patterns may wreak havoc with the learner’s performance in the classroom. Other symptoms such as mood changes and depression impact on the athlete’s interaction with family and peers. Poor coordination, delayed reaction times, exercise-induced headaches and dizziness, and compromised vision will affect performance on the sports field, thereby greatly increasing the risk of recurrent head- or other injury.
Recent research has shown that up to 50% of high school rugby players would have suffered a concussion in their high school playing careers and 10 to 15% of high school rugby players will suffer a concussion in any season.
The Fee structure for children age 13 years & up is a once off R400 and it includes the baseline test and all post injury testing but it does not include the consultation of the GP. For this age group we use CogState software.
As per the Rugby Unions mandate, all athletes will need to be seen by a medical doctor immediately after a concussion and cleared by a doctor before returning to sport.
Although athlete may choose to see their own house Dr, we urge you to see Dr Kobus Hugo, the resident doctor at the Lowmed Concussion Centre, which is responsible for the medical management of the concussed players and oversees the whole return-to-play process.
We advise that all students who participate in the following sports to be in a Concussion Management program: rugby, soccer, hockey, horse riding & cycling. The tests need to be done on an annual basis before contact sport training starts to account for changes in physical & cognitive maturity &development. Therefore the baseline test of the previous year can’t be used to compare post injury tests.
Please note, should a child not have a baseline test on file with us – a post injury test will be R800 per test. In some cases, a child may need as many as 3 or more post injury assessments before being cleared to return to play, which will cost R400 a test.