Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury

A scene from a soccer game as a teenage girl is about to perform a header, the ball mid-air, while two other girls (one from her team and the other the opposing team) rush towards the ball.

At OHSU, you’ll find the expertise and services you need for a brain injury, from mild to severe. We provide the best possible care for children and adults, from diagnosis through rehabilitation and recovery.

You’ll find:

  • Specialists with advanced training in diagnosing and treating brain injuries, including concussions.
  • Team-based care for children and adults, with many specialists working together to treat a head injury and any other injuries.
  • A Pediatric Intensive Care Unit staffed with children’s specialists, and the West Coast’s only program for children recovering from a serious illness or injury.
  • Oregon’s first intensive care unit with advanced 24/7 care specifically for adults with a serious brain injury or illness.
  • Rehabilitation specialists with specific training in treating patients with brain and nerve conditions.

Danger signs

Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you see:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • One pupil larger than the other
  • Very drowsy or can’t wake up
  • Headache that gets worse and doesn’t go away
  • Slurred speech, weakness, numbness or loss of coordination
  • Nausea or repeated vomiting
  • Unusual behavior and increased confusion

What are concussions and traumatic brain injuries?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are typically divided into three categories: mild, moderate and severe. All TBIs, though, can result in serious symptoms and disability.

  • Concussions are mild TBIs. No obvious brain injury is found, but brain function is impaired. A patient with a concussion can be treated in a clinic without brain imaging. The patient may need rehabilitation.
  • Severe and moderate TBIs involve a skull fracture, brain bleeding or damage to brain tissue that impairs brain function. Severe TBIs usually require hospital care, brain imaging and specialized rehabilitation.

How patients come to us

Concussion

The OHSU Concussion Clinic treats children, teens and adults with concussion. The clinic, part of the OHSU Sports Medicine Clinic, specializes in caring for athletes and non-athletes with a recent concussion.

  • Call the clinic at 503-494-1950. Our intake team will help you arrange an appointment with the specialist best able to meet your needs.
  • Your regular pediatrician or primary care doctor can also refer you to the clinic for further evaluation. We put a high priority on keeping your doctor involved in your concussion care.

Moderate and severe traumatic brain injury

For severe traumatic brain injuries, patients may arrive at our emergency department for care with our highly trained emergency medicine providers.

Complete care

OHSU brings together specialists for any type of brain injury, from sports medicine doctors to neurosurgeons.

Concussion care: Our concussion program features doctors trained in sports medicine and primary care. The team also includes neuropsychologists, psychologists, therapists and athletic trainers skilled in helping athletes and others recover from concussion and other sports injuries.

Neurologic care: U.S. News & World Report ranks our neurology and neurosurgery programs among the best in the nation. We earn top scores in areas such as advanced technologies, patient services and nursing staffing.

Pediatric care: Services for children include an advanced Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a program specifically for children recovering from a serious illness or injury, and a “quick brain” MRI to quickly check for brain injury.

Neurocritical care: Our Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit is the first in Oregon with 24/7 care from neurointensivists, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. The unit also includes continuous monitoring and immediate access to advanced imaging.

Top trauma center: OHSU and Doernbecher provide the highest level of trauma care: OHSU is a Level 1 trauma center, and Doernbecher is a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center and a Level 1 Site for Children’s Surgery.

Rehabilitation: Therapists in our state-of-the-art rehabilitation center have specific expertise for patients with brain, spinal cord or nerve injuries. Our neurologic rehabilitation care includes expert physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech-language therapists who can help you manage symptoms and regain function. Our rehab center also offers expert care for children.

Research and clinical trials

As Oregon’s only academic health center, we are a hub of research on concussion and other brain injuries.

Resources

For patients

Call the OHSU Concussion Clinic at 503-494-1950 to arrange an appointment.

Locations

Services are available in several locations, depending on your needs. They include:

Parking is free for patients and their visitors.

Refer a patient

Transfer a patient

  • 503-494-7000

Continuing education

Learn about OHSU’s online Return to Play program. Health professionals learn how to provide medical release for young athletes after a suspected concussion.

‘It’s incredibly isolating’

A female provider stands behind an older female patient as the patient attempts to stay balanced while walking a straight line.

Learn about OHSU research on treating balance problems after a concussion.

Specialists working together

Learn how providers in the OHSU Concussion Clinic treat the whole person by offering care from many angles.

Stay informed

Blog: Find news, events, tips and more on OHSU’s On the Brain blog.

News: Read about research breakthroughs, patient care and many other topics on the OHSU News site.