Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Our concussion experts have experience evaluating and treating concussions in children and athletes of all ages.

Testing

There are several ways to evaluate concussions. We look at a patient’s history as well as their symptoms.

  • Event history - we ask questions about exactly what happened before, during and after a head injury.
  • Imaging - we may use neuroimaging, such as a CAT scan or MRI, to rule out more serious brain injuries. These tests, however, do not show the effects of a concussion, and generally are not ordered.

Treatment and services

We work closely with many health care professionals to make a care plan for concussion patients. We work with other specialists within Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center including Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neural and Behavioral Sciences, Orthopaedics (including sports medicine) and Rehabilitation (including physical, occupational, visual, and speech therapies), Pediatrics and Surgery (including trauma services) as needed. We additionally make referrals to specialists within the community and assist families to find proper treatment close to home.

Locations

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute
30 Hope Drive Entrance B, Suite 2400
Hershey, PA 17033
    
Penn State Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
1135 Old West Chocolate Ave #101
Hummelstown, PA 17036

Groups, Classes & Support

Support Groups

Brain Injury

Third Thursday of each month  
7 - 8:30 p.m.
Penn State Health Rehab Hospital Cafeteria 
1135 Old West Chocolate Ave, Hummelstown, PA 17036
Questions? Contact Michelle Von Arx at 717-832-2600.

 

Concussion for Adolescents and Young Adults

Fourth Thursday of each month  
6 - 7:45 p.m.
30 Hope Drive, Entrance B, Room 1019, Hershey, PA (on the Hershey Medical Center Campus) 
Questions? Contact Pam Zerbe at 717-531-8070.

Concussion resources for parents

As a parent, you play a big role in your child’s recovery from a concussion. You can best watch your child symptoms. Tell your child’s doctor about any changes. See the links below for more details.

Concussion resources for providers

There are many resources available regarding concussion for healthcare providers on the web.

Concussion resources for school nurses

There are many resources available regarding concussion for school nurses on the web.

Research & Clinical Trials

Please enter research and clinical trials information here.

Visit StudyFinder for information on our current clinical trials.

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook

Tips and information on concussion symptoms, concussion recovery and more from the Concussion care team.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild brain injury. It is one of the most common injuries after a fall, crash or blow to the head.

Three things to know about concussions

  • Concussions can be hard to diagnose and treat.
  • If a concussion isn’t properly diagnosed and treated, it may lead to life-long physical, cognitive (thinking) and psychological effects
  • Proper management is key to safe return to sports, school, work and other activities

Get the Stats on Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States

Symptoms

Symptoms of concussion can be mild or severe. They usually fall into four categories:

Thinking/remembering (cognitive)

  • Feeling slowed down
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Trouble remembering new information

Physical 

  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting (early on)
  • Sensitivity to noise or light
  • Feeling tired, having no energy
  • Fuzzy or blurry vision
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Emotional/mood (Behavioral)

Feeling:

  • Sad
  • Irritable
  • Overly emotional
  • Nervous or anxious

Sleep:

  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Sleeping less than usual
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Trouble staying asleep
     

Causes & Risk Factors

What causes a concussion?

Many concussions are caused by:

  • Falls
  • Car crashes
  • Being struck on the head
  • Sports and recreational injuries

Diagnosis

Testing

There are several ways to evaluate concussions. We look at a patient’s history as well as their symptoms.

  • Event history - we ask questions about exactly what happened before, during and after a head injury.
  • Imaging - we may use neuroimaging, such as a CAT scan or MRI, to rule out more serious brain injuries. These tests, however, do not show the effects of a concussion, and generally are not ordered.

Outlook & Prognosis

Tips for recovery

Relative Rest

"Relative Rest" is very important after a concussion. It helps the brain heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to "tough it out" often makes symptoms worse, and may prolong recovery time.  

Healing takes time, so be patient. Your doctor will help you decide when you should return to work, school or other activities. If your symptoms come back or you notice new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.  

As the days go by, most people gradually begin to feel better.

Tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.
  • Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., sports, working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., sustained computer use, video games).
  • Ask your doctor when you can begin to safely return to your usual activities.

Returning to regular activity

After you’ve had a concussion, you may have a higher chance of having another concussion. Your recovery phase should include being symptom-free:

  • At rest
  • With full cognitive activities (such as school and work)
  • With full physical activities (such as sports, working and driving)

We can help

To schedule an appointment, please call 717-531-6824