Inside The Bills

Concussion grading scales

Posted by on October 6, 2008 – 10:10 am

There are a number of concussion grading scales out there, but medical consensus does not exist as to which is best. The three most widely used scales are those of the American Academy of Neurology, the Colorado Medical Society and the one developed by Dr. Robert Cantu.

As far as the Bills are concerned they don’t grade concussions. They simply label Trent Edwards’ injury, for example, as a concussion, and follow their own standards with respect to symptoms and treatment.

The three most widely used scales mentioned above don’t vary all that much so simply for reference here is the American Academy of Neurology’s grading scale.

Grade 1 – Confusion, symptoms last less than 15 minutes, no loss of consciousness

Recommendation – remove from contest, examine immediately and at 5-minute intervals.

Grade 2 – Symptoms last more than 15 minutes, no loss of consciousness

Recommendation – remove from contest for remainder of day, examine on site often, examine the next day by a doctor.

Grade 3 – Any loss of consciousness, brief or prolonged

Recommendation – transport athlete to nearest emergency department if still unconscious, have a thorough neurologic exam.

Naturally professional athletes that suffer any kind of concussion are monitored closely by training staffs and examined daily and likely to be run through a battery of tests, which will be measured against a baseline test taken prior to the season to determine if there is any difference in brain function. An MRI is likely as well.

As far as returning to action on the field is concerned, each case is different with respect to recovery.


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