The region’s leading concussion treatment clinic.
A concussion hurts more than your athletic performance. This head injury can affect many aspects of your life, from completing your work to interacting with friends. It takes a team of experts to assess the full extent of a concussion and safely get you back to optimal brain health.
Concussion treatment: Why choose Henry Ford?
The Henry Ford Kutcher Clinic for Concussion and Sports Neurology is the only program of its kind in the region. We combine the fields of neurology and sports medicine to support total brain health. Teenage and adult athletes throughout southeast and central Michigan choose us because we offer:
- Diagnostic expertise: A concussion isn’t detectable by an MRI or X-ray. An accurate diagnosis requires experts who understand the complex signs and symptoms. We monitor your progress with attentive follow-up care and design a safe return-to-play plan.
- Full evaluation: We conduct thorough evaluations to assess the physical, emotional and cognitive effects of a concussion. We compare results with baseline tests (when available) to map the full neurological extent of the injury.
- Specialized providers: Led by renowned concussion expert Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, our team includes a specially trained sports medicine physician and athletic trainers. This range of expertise means we can diagnose and treat both straightforward and complex head injuries.
- Support, on and off the sidelines: Our team is trusted by high school and collegiate teams throughout the region to deliver concussion care and education. Our athletic trainers work on the sidelines and in the clinic to support athletes and promote lifelong brain health.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI). It’s caused by a direct blow to the head or a jolt to the body that jerks the head forward and backward. When the brain is pushed against the skull, delicate brain cells can become injured or bruised. Concussions are most common in contact sports such as football, rugby and hockey. However, concussions can also result from falls or car accidents.
Concussions affect everyone differently. There are more than 20 signs and symptoms of a concussion, many of which you may not initially associate with a head injury. They generally fall into four categories: cognitive (thinking/remembering), physical, emotional and sleep. Learn more about concussion symptoms.
A baseline test is an evaluation of normal brain function, before an injury occurs. Many athletes get pre-season baseline tests with us each year or every other year. This pre-injury assessment is important because it establishes a point of reference for your best brain health. When we know how your uninjured brain should function, we can measure the severity of a concussion.
Regular neurological assessments can also help us track underlying conditions such as chronic headaches, ADHD or anxiety. It’s important to monitor these conditions since they can affect your performance in sports, school and work. They can also influence how you respond to head injuries.
When you work with one of our athletic trainers at high school or college, your baseline is placed on file. Should a head injury occur, we compare your “test scores” to determine when it’s safe to return to school, sports or work.
Concussion testing and diagnosis
We do thorough concussion assessments at our clinic to evaluate all the ways a head injury can affect your life. First appointments generally last from 60 to 90 minutes. You meet with one of our sports medicine doctors, as well as an athletic trainer. Depending on the results of your injury assessment, we may recommend an additional evaluation with our sports neurologist.
During a concussion evaluation, we assess:
- Eye function
- Range of motion, especially in the neck
- Reaction timing
We use the results to determine when it’s safe for you to return to school, sports or work. We can then provide a written clearance to resume normal activities.
We also take time to discuss your health history and your family’s. Sometimes we uncover underlying health issues such as depression or a neurological disorder that aren’t caused by the concussion. We can help you safely manage these conditions and connect you with appropriate care.
Every concussion treatment plan is customized to the unique needs of each athlete. Often, the most effective way to recover from a concussion is to get “relative” rest . This approach doesn’t mean stopping activities altogether. Instead, you modify your activities in school, during sports and at home to give your brain the break it needs . We work with parents, coaches and teachers to ensure athletes get accommodations at school and at home.
Additional treatments may include:
- Diet modifications
- Manipulation of muscles and joints
- Nerve blocks
- Physical therapy
- Trigger point injections