Children's Hospital of Wisconsin offers the only Concussion Clinic in Milwaukee and Wisconsin for young athletes, up to age 22. Our pediatric sports medicine specialists evaluate each athlete's injuries and offer guidance and education to ensure it's safe for them to return to regular activities, such as school, driving, physical activity or sports.
Kids helping kids: A group of eighth-grade students from Muskego, Wis., worked together to raise $700 for brain research after a friend suffered four concussions. Read the story.
Leading expert: Kevin Walter, MD, has been appointed to the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Sports-Related Concussions in Youth to conduct a study on youth sports-related concussions. They will examine concussion risk factors, screening and diagnosis, treatment and management, and long-term consequences. The Institute of Medicine is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, and many of the studies the IOM does begin as congressional mandates.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that usually is caused by a direct blow to the head or face, like a sports injury or bad fall from a bike. Concussions are a common but often misunderstood injury in kids.
Many concussions are mild, but all concussions potentially are serious and may result in complications. These range from prolonged symptoms, difficulty with school, mood swings or even death, if not managed properly. Medical evaluation and treatment of every concussion and its symptoms is very important.
Wisconsin's concussion law requires all youth athletic organizations, from recreational leagues to clubs or school sports, to educate coaches, athletes and parents about concussions. Everyone should be aware of the signs and symptoms of concussion, because education is a key part of ensuring kids get the best care.
Wisconsin's Department of Public Instruction developed concussion fact sheets for athletes and parents. The legislation prevents kids from participating in an activity until they, and their parents or guardians, have returned a signed agreement sheet indicating they have reviewed the concussion and head injury informational materials.
If a young athlete shows signs or symptomsof a concussion, the law requires that he or she immediately be removed from an athletic activity. The athlete may not participate again until he or she is evaluated by a health care provider and receives written clearance from that provider to return to the activity.
If an athlete is injured with a concussion, a pediatric sports medicine specialist will do a complete review of his or her injuries and symptoms, along with a thorough physical exam.
During each follow-up visit, we will evaluate the treatment plan and offer help with managing symptoms, functioning at school and ability to drive. We also will provide a timeline for returning to regular activities and sports.
Some kids also may need a MRI or to be seen by a pediatric neurologist or neuropsychologist. Our pediatric sports medicine specialists will provide referrals as needed.
Baseline concussion tests
Based on American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for sports-related concussions, we suggest a baseline concussion test for all young athletes, especially those involved in contact sports. Children's Hospital uses ImPACTTM and Axon Sports computerized evaluation tests, which are commonly used in organized high school sports, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Football League.
These tests measure:
- Verbal and visual memory.
- Attention span.
- Brain processing speed.
- Reaction time.
Baseline concussion tests may be given before a concussion happens. After an injury, another test is done. The results then can be compared to measure the athlete's brain function before and after the injury. This helps sports medicine specialists improve concussion care and make return-to-play decisions.
Scheduling a baseline test
Baseline tests should be repeated every two years to account for your child's growth and development. Contact us to arrange a baseline concussion test for your young athlete.