A concussion is, unfortunately, a common injury if you play sports. Board-certified sports medicine physician, Jeffrey Lai, MD, has helped hundreds of athletes return to play safely. We work with athletes at all stages of development from youth, high school, college, weekend warriors to professional. Concussion guidelines and treatment paradigms are constantly changing, with different rules for different sports at different levels of play. From football to cheer, from Pop Warner to NCAA, Dr. Lai offers a comprehensive examination to assess your neurologic function, balance, coordination, and behavior. Dr. Lai utilizes ImPACT® for computerized neuropsychological testing. Call Jeffrey Lai, MD today to schedule a consultation at his office in Torrance, California, or book an appointment using the online form.
A sports concussion is a transient injury to your brain that takes place when playing sports, working out, or training. In most cases, sports concussions happen when you fall or receive a direct blow to the head, causing the brain to bounce in the skull and disrupting normal function of the brain. Most people will recover from a concussion within a couple of days or weeks, but some will continue to suffer symptoms for months or longer, interfering with your normal activities. No two concussions are alike, and treatment guidelines will vary depending on your age and level of play.
Approximately 2.8 million sports/recreational concussions occur annually, but only 1 in 6 are actually diagnosed. Only about 5-10% of people are knocked unconscious with a concussion. The majority are dazed, confused and suffer traditional symptoms such as headache and nausea. While some concussions resolve on their own, they are still dangerous and may have lingering effects if left untreated. The key to proper management of a sports concussion is early detection and treatment of the concussed athlete so they can safely return to play.
You might not realize you have a concussion right away, as it can take time for the symptoms to show up. The majority of symptoms associated with a concussion will usually appear within the first few minutes or hours after sustaining the injury. The most common symptoms of a sports concussion are:
People around you might notice that your speech seems slurred or you look dazed. You might not respond to questions right away, and you might seem disoriented. You can lose consciousness when you sustain a concussion, which can happen briefly without you realizing it. There is a possibility that you don’t remember the blow to the head.
In the weeks following a sports concussion, the after-effects could cause continuing problems with memory and concentration, personality changes, irritability, depression, and problems sleeping. You might also find your sense of taste and smell aren’t the same, and you are sensitive to bright light or loud noises.
Prior to your visit, we will send you an online questionnaire to gather information about your sports injury, medical history and concerns. Dr. Lai will use this questionnaire during the in-office evaluation to aid in his recommendations and treatment regimen.
Your in-office evaluation will last one hour. This will include gathering additional information about your injury which includes a physical examination, as well as reviewing your medical history and conducting various screenings. Dr. Lai uses a multimodal comprehensive examination which includes a neurological exam, an assessment of balance & coordination, a cognitive assessment, a vestibular assessment, and computerized testing if needed using the ImPACT® system.
ImPACT® stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test. It is a sophisticated software program developed to help sports medicine physicians evaluate recovery following a concussion. The program is a computer test which that concussed athlete takes to evaluate multiple aspects of neurocognitive functioning, including memory, brain processing speed, reaction time, and post-concussion symptoms.
Dr. Lai will use all his findings to develop a concussion treatment plan unique to your injury, keeping in mind your concerns and goals for returning to activities.
Most sports concussions heal with rest. Resting your brain isn't like resting an arm or a leg, so as well as taking it easy physically, you also need to ease off mentally. That means time off or shorter days at work or school, and less time spent looking at screens.
You must also avoid playing sports until your concussion is fully healed. No athlete should return to activity when still suffering symptoms of a concussion. Receiving another blow to your head when you have a concussion could cause more serious injuries or brain swelling. Most importantly, you should have someone around to keep an eye on you and make sure your symptoms are not getting worse.
In most cases, you do not need to go to the hospital or the emergency room for a sports concussion. However, more serious conditions that could mimic a sports concussion such as a skull fracture or a brain bleed would warrant assessment in the hospital setting.
Most people who get a sports concussion recover fully with no lasting effects. Where your brain is concerned, you should never take any chances.
Dr. Lai is a board-certified sports medicine physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating sports concussions.
Comprehensive Concussion Evaluation
Concussion Follow-Up (per visit)
Our office is a cash-based practice. We do not accept or participate in any insurance programs. Our services are elective and therefore we require the patient to pay upfront for services rendered. We have also opted out of the Medicare Program and are only able to see Medicare patients who are willing to sign a Medicare Waiver, which restricts the patient’s ability to seek reimbursement from Medicare for medical services received at our office.
We understand that this may be disappointing to hear at first, but once you visit our office and experience the difference in convenience, quality of care, and our advanced treatments, you will understand the benefits of an independent medical practice. We are here to serve YOU, not the insurance companies and their complicated health plans. Transparency is a priority to us and you will be provided with treatment or program costs before you agree to proceed.
Our office has negotiated discounted rates for the required lab work. We pass these discounted rates on to our patients and do not profit from these labs. If your insurance plan provides reimbursement for out-of-network providers, our office will provide you with an itemized statement that you can submit for possible reimbursement. Because health insurance is a contract between you and the insurance company, we cannot guarantee any level of insurance reimbursement.