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November 19, 2003

Understanding Sports-Related Concussion: Coming Into Focus but Still Fuzzy

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Family Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

JAMA. 2003;290(19):2604-2605. doi:10.1001/jama.290.19.2604

A young athlete collides with an opponent. The play ends. The athlete walks from the field of play in an unsteady fashion. The medical staff begins the process of assessment. And the questions begin: Are you OK? What's wrong? How many fingers? What do you remember?"

After the assessment is complete, decisions are made. Initially, the question is, should the athlete be returned to play? Other questions routinely follow: How should the injury be handled? What's likely to occur with the individual in the ensuing hours and days? Can clinicians intercede to speed the process of recovery and rehabilitation? And finally, the most important question: What's the "right" thing to do in this situation?