Sports Neurology

Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles

Neurology Specialists located in Santa Monica, CA

Sports neurology is a cutting-edge specialty that focuses on neurological problems frequently found in athletes. Edward J. O’Connor, MD, FAAN, and Russ Shimizu, MD, at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles specialize in sports neurology and the treatment of traumatic brain injuries such as concussions. If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call the office in Santa Monica, California, or use the online booking feature.

Sports Neurology Q & A

What is sports neurology?

Sports neurology is a subspecialty of neurology that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related neurologic injuries. Experts in sports neurology, like the doctors at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles, also help patients with neurologic conditions such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis (MS) participate in sports and athletic activities.

Concussions are one of the most common neurological problems associated with sports. However, the team at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles also treats sports-related injuries to the spine, peripheral nerves, and neuromuscular system.

What should I know about sports-related concussions?

More than 300,000 sports-related concussions occur every year in the United States. About 34% of college football players have one concussion and 20% suffer several traumatic head injuries. College soccer players have just as many concussions as football players.

While most people recover from their first concussion within 7-10 days, repeat concussions increase the risk of long-term consequences such as permanent brain damage.

Every head injury, even if it seems mild, is always considered a serious concern. If you suffer a head injury during sports participation, you should immediately stop playing and get prompt medical attention.

What symptoms develop following a concussion?

A concussion occurs when you sustain a blow to your head that’s strong enough to make your brain bounce against your skull. During this trauma, brain cells are damaged and chemical changes occur that affect your brain’s ability to function properly.

You may lose consciousness, but most patients stay awake following a concussion. Some patients develop symptoms immediately, while others have delayed symptoms that appear in a few hours or days.

There are three primary concussion symptoms:

  • A headache
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion

Additionally, you may develop symptoms such as:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleeping more or less than normal
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurry vision
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Changes in your sense of smell

The cognitive effects of a concussion can last long after the concussion heals, causing a condition known as post-concussion syndrome.

How are concussions treated?

The best way to treat a concussion is to give your brain time to heal. You’ll need to rest, reduce stimulation, and limit activities that require mental effort. You may need to adjust your work or school schedule until your doctor clears you to take on more activity.

At that stage, the doctors at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles work with you to develop a stepwise plan to gradually and safely get back to your normal activity level.

The doctors at Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles are dedicated to helping athletes stay in the game. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online today.