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Institute of Sport Exercise and Health Facility

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health Facility

Cutting-edge research and clinical practice for elite and amateur sportspeople


020 3447 2800

Mon | Weds | Fri

8am - 8pm

Tues | Thurs

8am - 8pm

170 Tottenham Court Road



About concussion

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that is caused by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or an indirect force such as a hit to the body. It typically results in the rapid onset of neurological dysfunction that resolves spontaneously but in some cases symptoms and signs can take several hours to evolve. Contrary to popular belief less than 10% of concussions involve a loss of consciousness and these can be so momentary that they can be missed altogether. 

Concussion is currently a major medical issue in world sports. As player welfare rises in priority across professional sports, the scale of the problem has become more evident through the injury surveillance systems that have been put in place.

Although media focus has highlighted concussion in the highest echelons of sports, concussion is not isolated to elite sport, or to sport for that matter, and primary healthcare professionals are likely to be required to recognise and manage concussion in a broad patient population. 

Acute concussion management and return to activity

The initial management of concussion is focused on a period of relative physical and cognitive rest, meaning that the patient should try to limit activities that stimulate the mind such as excessive use of personal electronic devices, watching television or even driving.

Once the symptoms have completely resolved the individual undergoes a programme of gradually increasing stimulation and activity before they are medically cleared to return to all activities.

Concussion issues

A minority of patients who suffer concussion have many symptoms that can last for several months and continue to significantly affect their quality of life. Such patients require careful assessment and expert management in order to recover but unfortunately many do not have access to services that can provide this.  

Additionally, evidence is emerging for a link between concussion (particularly multiple concussions) and long term neurological conditions, including early dementia, in professional athletes. Although a number of high profile cases of retired NFL players with the condition of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have been reported, the scale of the problem and whether concussion (or another factor) is the cause is currently unknown.  

ISEH Concussion Clinic

In collaboration with the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, RFU and FA, The ISEH has established a multidisciplinary concussion service to address the public health need for both the elite population and recreational athletes with ongoing problems after concussion. 

After referral from your doctor, each patient will be contacted by phone for triage by a Case Manager SEM. This case manager will then be the point of contact for both the patient and the referrer and guide them through the concussion pathway, including assessments, imaging scans and specialist consultation. 

This unique multidisciplinary service for the management of concussion in elite and amateur athletes offers reviews and guidance for each individual and referrer, for the management and treatment pathways to enable a safe return to play. View the Sports Pathway

This is submitted as a full report with recommendations and a treatment plan, compiled by the ISEH consultant and case manager SEM.

Concussion guidelines

FA Concussion guidelines

The FA have compiled guidelines to assist those in football recognise and management a concussion at the time of injury and through a player's safe return to football.

RFU's guide to Concussion

The Rugby Football Union run an awareness programme called HEADCASE, that aims to increase understanding and provide information on concussion and related topics, including how to prevent and manage suspected concussion in Rugby.

ISEH Concussion Hot line

A member of the ISEH team will take all details and pass details on to a Case Managing SEM who facilitate the concussion pathway

0203 447 2801 or 023 447 2800 option 4

The hot line is open Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm

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