concussionConcussion Clinic Opens

The specialized clinic provides expert care for adolescents and teens in MidState’s communities.

Concussion is now recognized as a mild form of traumatic brain injury that can cause short- and long-term consequences. People who sustain concussions must receive proper treatment in order to recover fully. This is especially true of adolescents and teens, whose brains are still developing. To be sure that young people ages 10 to 19 who live in the area receive optimal care for concussion, MidState this year teamed up with Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network to offer a concussion clinic in Cheshire.

The clinic opened in March 2014 and is held every Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. in MidState’s facility at 680 South Main St. Dr. Subramani Seetharama, a physiatrist who is the medical director of rehabilitation and sports medicine at Hartford Hospital, runs the clinic. He has operated concussion clinics in South Windsor and West Hartford for several years in conjunction with Hartford Hospital and has expertise in caring for young people who have had concussions due to sports, accidents or other occurrences.

Symptoms of concussion may include confusion, dizziness, vision disturbances, headache or drowsiness. Symptoms that may linger after concussion range from fatigue and light/noise sensitivity to difficulty concentrating and mood changes.

Not every young person who sustains a concussion needs the clinic’s services. State law requires coaches and trainers to remove a student from play immediately if a concussion is suspected, and the player must be cleared by a concussion-certified medical professional before returning to play. Many physicians in MidState’s service area are equipped to evaluate the young person and determine when he or she can resume activities.

“Eighty-five percent of kids recover in seven to 10 days, have no lingering symptoms and are cleared by their doctors to go back to play,” says Seetharama. “It’s the roughly 15 percent who fall outside that norm that we’re concerned about. If a physician has a patient whose symptoms persist, he or she should refer the patient to the concussion clinic.”

Patients receive a comprehensive evaluation, including a physical exam and a neurocognitive assessment with the ImPACT (Immediate Post- Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) test, a widely used, objective assessment tool. Seetharama also conducts a psychological evaluation to check for problems such as anxiety and depression, which can be triggered by concussion.

“I use every tool I have to try to see that the brain is completely healed,” Seetharama says. “That’s the most important thing.”

For more information on MidState’s Concussion Clinic, please visit midstatemedical.org or call 203-694-8269.