Concussion clinic opens at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital

Children and adults who experience head injuries can now come to Inova Mount Vernon Hospital for testing and expertise. The Inova Concussion Clinic started at the hospital late last year.

“I think it’s a great service to the community, and it’s helped a lot of kids get back sooner than they would have [to school],” notes Jamie Swanton, physical therapist at the clinic.

When a person comes into the clinic, he or she will undergo comprehensive objective testing, including an occulomotor exam and balance assessment, to determine the extent of the injury. A clinician will then make recommendations regarding activity levels and going back to school or work. Modifications to rest and nutrition will be discussed.

“The main goal is to protect the brain from a second injury because that could lead to more long-term damage,” says Swanton. “We also want to get them back to their previous level of activity. Until they’re symptom-free and all of the objective exams come back OK, we recommend no physical activity except walking, and then make modifications so they can go back to school successfully.”

Swanton notes that some common missteps that parents make are keeping kids out of school too long; letting children sleep too much, which can be confusing to the brain; and letting children go back too early to sports.

“We say you can’t put your brain in a cast [like you would a broken arm],” she says. “Increasing protein and water intake and not stimulating the brain is like putting it in a cast.”

Game Plan

Concerned about a concussion?  Call the outpatient department at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital 703.664.7190.