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Concussion Evaluation & Rehabilitation Clinic at BMC

football.jpgA concussion is a brain injury that causes some alteration of brain function. It may be caused by a blow to the head, face, neck, or elsewhere on the body that causes a sudden shaking of the brain inside the skull. The damage to the brain in a concussion is not visible by the commonly-used imaging techniques like X-rays, CT, or MRI scans. A concussion changes the way the brain functions in areas like learning, attention, memory and mood.

Between 2009 and 2013, just over 2,000 patients were seen in the Berkshire Medical Center Emergency Department with head injuries, and of those, 79 patients were admitted. Certainly, emergency department numbers understate the incidence as they do not include those who seek initial care at their primary provider’s office and those who do not get medical care at all. 

The true incidence of concussions is not known because concussions are under-reported. This may be due to the victim not knowing the symptoms of a concussion or, in the case of athletes, choosing not to report symptoms because they prefer to “tough it out” or fear losing playing time.

Recognition and a proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury or even death. Most notably, Second Impact Syndrome is a condition of sudden, catastrophic brain swelling that develops when a second injury occurs less than two weeks after a first injury has not completely healed.

In less dramatic fashion, even though the patient often “looks fine” to others, concussions can cause physical symptoms and problems with brain function that may persist for weeks, months, or years. Symptoms like headache, fatigue, light and motion sensitivity, dizziness, inattentiveness, memory, mood disturbances, and sleep disruption can profoundly impact a student’s academic and social life.

At the BMC Concussion Evaluation and Rehabilitation Clinic patients are counseled and managed so that symptom burden can be minimized, and their recovery and return to school, play, and work can take place as comfortably and safely as possible. The Clinic sees patients up to the age of 22. 

The BMC Concussion and Rehabilitation Clinic is under the direction of Alan Kulberg, MD, Medical Director, and is located in the BMC Center for Rehabilitation, BMC Medical Arts Complex, 777 North St., Pittsfield, MA. The Clinic is available for children, adolescents and young adults into their early 20's from Berkshire County and the surrounding area. 

For South Berkshire patients of MACONY Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, MACONY offers concussion evaluation and follow-up testing, as well, through its offices at 100 Maple Ave., Great Barrington. 

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