In Episode 8 of Ask Concussion Doc, Dr. Cameron Marshall, DC, discusses Kevin Love’s concussion injury and the NBA concussion protocol. This episode also includes topics such as over-the-counter and pharmaceutical interventions for concussion and symptom management; utility and application of the King-Devick Test; and a study of the week, which looks at learning disabilities and neurocognitive testing.
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NBA Concussion Protocol
Cleveland Cavaliers’ power forward, Kevin Love, left Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals with a concussion. The good news is that the player and team recognized the apparent signs of a concussion injury and removed him despite the significance of the game. This sets a good example at the professional level. Love also sat out Game 7 against the Boston Celtics, following NBA concussion protocol.
Unfortunately, some high-profile NBA commentators suggested that Love should have taken a pain killer and got back into the game. We all know that concussion management is not that simple. We cannot just simply mask the symptoms. Appropriate management, treatment and rehabilitation is key.
After hearing Love’s story and reading these headlines, Dr. Marshall looked into the NBA concussion protocol to get a sense of their approach to concussion management. He discusses in detail during the first part of the episode.
Over-the-Counter Medications & Pharmaceutical Interventions for Concussion Symptoms
Simply, there is no pill that can cure or aid the concussion itself. Remember, concussion is an energy deficit. Some of the proven approaches to support with the energy deficit are on the nutritional arm of concussion management.
Drugs are typically designed to shut down one particular pathway, but a concussion injury can impact a multitude of different pathways.
For example, a pain killer may help to reduce a headache, but would not alleviate other concussion-related symptoms such as dizziness or cognitive impairments.
Dr. Marshall explains the pros and cons of over-the-counter medications and pharmaceuticals as well as some of the things that patients need to consider such as side effects.
King-Devick Test: Utility & Application
Dr. Marshall discusses the history of the King-Devick test, and its application in concussion management. Of note, there is a large range of normative data for many of these types of tests, including the King-Devick Test. Therefore, without a baseline test (or a pre-injury overview of an athlete’s physical and cognitive abilities), the King-Devick Test has limited use in concussion management.
Dr. Marshall cites some of the age-related normative data for the King-Devick Test as well as explains how and when to use it.
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