For athletes—especially athletes engaged in contact sports—there are few injuries that spark more anxiety than concussions. Concussions occur following blows to the head by an object such as a ball, stick or bat, or after a collision with another person. Even contact with the ground can cause a concussion. Concussions can range from mild to severe, but it’s important to remember that, even with the slightest concussion, an injury to the brain has occurred, and that’s nothing to take lightly.
The Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program is dedicated to treating concussions. Our program was developed to help coaches, athletes, certified athletic trainers, physicians and parents recognize the symptoms of a concussion, take steps to alleviate the risk of concussion and manage sports-related concussions after they happen. Our sports-concussion experts are recognized nationally and internationally for their work in this quickly evolving field, and their experience and knowledge allows for world-class care for all the athletes our program assists.
We use state-of-the-art technology, including the ImPACT computerized neurocognitive testing software, a 20-minute test that has become a standard clinical tool in the clinical management of athletes’ concussions. Usually, athletes are given a baseline test before the season starts of their concentration, verbal memory, design memory and memory processing abilities, as well as their reaction time. If that player suffers a suspected concussion, the athlete is given the same computerized test within 24 to 48 hours. The results have physicians understand the extent of the concussion and develop a management plan, as well as know when the player can return to his or her sport.
For athletes who did not have the baseline exam, the ImPACT procedure can still be useful for post-concussion management. The test results are instead compared to a large volume of comparative data and analyzed by a neuropsychologist. However, baseline testing is still considered the standard of care for athletes in contact and collision sports. Neurocognitive tests are used by the NFL, MLB, NASCAR and the NHL, as well as by most major colleges and universities and more than 900 high schools nationwide.
In fact, the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program has partnerships with 18 high schools in Central Florida to provide their student-athletes access to advanced and appropriate concussion diagnostic and management protocols. Our goal is to help diagnose and treat these athletes so that they can not only get back on the field, but also live normal, healthy lives without the threat of permanent injury.
To learn more, please visit the Florida Hospital Sports Concussion Program’s website.
Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
Florida Hospital Orlando offers the only neuroscience program of its kind in the state, dedicated to treating patients with normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH). NPH is a condition in which cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain without a concomitant increase in pressure. This accumulation may lead to the onset and progression of symptoms that mimic other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the brain. It surrounds the brain ad spinal cord, serving as a cushion and providing nutrients to and removing waste from the brain and spinal cord. Normally, this fluid is absorbed from the brain to maintain a constant pressure; however, in NPH, the cerebrospinal fluid is not absorbed properly. This creates a buildup of fluid in the brain, which enlarges the brain’s ventricles and puts tension on surrounding brain tissue.
There are two types of NPH: idiopathic and secondary. Idiopathic NPH occurs without any known cause, whereas secondary NPH is associated with an identifiable cause such as head injury, stroke, hemorrhage or infection.
At the Florida Hospital, our main focus is to identify patients who will likely benefit from the placement of a shunt to treat NPH. We also strive to advance our knowledge about this condition and contribute to the better understanding and treatment of NPH.
The multidisciplinary team of experts at Florida Hospital thoroughly evaluates each patient to determine his or her likelihood of benefiting from a shunt. That way, patients who most likely won’t see any improvement from a shunt can avoid the possible risks and complications associated with surgery.