Why an Athlete Might Now See a Sports Neurologist

Sports neurology
Print icon

What is a sports neurologist? With the dramatic increase in head injuries in football and other sports, this relatively new subspecialty of neurology has become increasingly prominent.

Dr. Stephanie Alessi-Larosa is a sports neurologist with the Hartford Healthcare Ayer Neuroscience Institute:

Q. Sports neurology is a somewhat new field. Why is this so important for athletes?
A. Sports neurologists are trained in the diagnosis and management of neurologic conditions in athletes, such as concussions. I am a board-certified neurologist that treats all neurologic conditions, but I have completed a fellowship to obtain a subspecialty in managing neurologic conditions that arise in athletes either from their participation in sports (such as concussions) or, for example, migraines or epilepsy that occur in the general population that requires specialized management by a sports neurologist for athletes with these conditions to perform highly.

Q. You are fellowship trained as a sports neurologist and will being treating athletes. When should someone see you?
A. Being fellowship trained, I have spent time at countless live competitions with athletes from the youth level through collegiate and professional monitoring for acute concussions or other acute neurologic issues.

The sooner the athlete or anyone with a concussion is seen by a physician, the better the outcome. Any patient of any age and any level of athleticism/physical activity should come see me if they have or may have a neurologic diagnosis (such as migraine, epilepsy, muscular disease) or have had a concussion or are suffering from prolonged symptoms such as from post-concussion syndrome.

Q. What are some of the other conditions you treat as a sports neurologist?
A.
Some of the most common conditions I see include: post-concussion syndrome,  migraines and all headache types, neck strain, vestibular/equilibrium issues and cognitive issues. I also frequently evaluate patients who have neurologic concerns after suffering repetitive head injuries in sports.

Q. Can you explain what baseline testing is and why it is important for athletes?
A. Baseline testing is a way to evaluate athletes prior to having a concussion or after fully recovering from a concussion where the testing can be repeated if an acute concussion is suspected and also to assist the clinician to determine when it is safe for them to return to play. Baseline testing comes in many shapes and sizes, but at its best it is performed and interpreted by a sports neurologist rather than a standardized computer program and includes a combination of cognitive, balance, eye movement assessments, just to name a few areas.

Dr. Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa will give a community education talk July 18 at 6 p.m. at Waterford High School, where you can learn more about the facts vs. myths about concussion and how to approach the long-term issues from head injuries in sports. For information,  contact Waterford High football coach John Strecker john-strecker@sbcglobal.net.

To learn more about sports neurology at Hartford HealthCare, call 1-855-HHC-HERE (1.855.442.4373). 

 


What's New

Epilepsy

Cameron Boyce: Explaining ‘Sudden Unexplained Death’

Although a seizure stemming from his epilepsy is believed to have caused the recent death of actor Cameron Boyce, it is an extremely rare side effect of the disease, according to Dr. Gabriel Martz, director of The Epilepsy Center at Ayer Neuroscience Institute. Epileptic seizures – which occur when the...


Migraines? A Local Clinical Trial May Be for You

The Hartford HealthCare Headache Center is currently conducting a research study of a home treatment for migraine using self-administered investigational medical device. The study device is non-invasive and does not require medications intake. Compensation for your time and travel is available. Hartford HealthCare Headache Center medical director Dr. Brian Grosberg is the...


Hartford Hospital Earns Quality Stroke Care Award

Moments matter for patients with stroke, and that means rapid diagnosis and quick delivery of clot-busting medication is critical to reducing post-stroke complications or disability. Hartford Hospital’s demonstrated ability to thrive in those urgent care situations, combined with its comprehensive approach to getting patients on the road to a speedy...

Jeffrey Flaks

Leadership Change at Hartford HealthCare

Hartford HealthCare has named Jeffrey A. Flaks its President and Chief Executive Officer, effective Sept. 1. Flaks succeeds Elliot Joseph, who has been Hartford HealthCare’s Chief Executive Officer since 2013. Joseph made the decision to retire after leading the organization for more than 10 years. “For several years, the Hartford...

Stroke

Hartford Hospital Recertified as Comprehensive Stroke Center

Last month Hartford Hospital earned recertification from the Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Hartford Hospital was originally certified in 2013. This is our third recertification. To be eligible, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements, including those related to...


Cluster Headaches: Why They’re Such A Pain This Time of Year

By Dr. Abigail Chua Headache and Facial Pain Fellowship Program Director Hartford HealthCare Medical Group Spring has turned to summer, flowers are in bloom and life takes a slower, more carefree pace. Until you suffer one of the worst headaches you’ve ever experienced, and it just won’t quit, causing excruciating...

Essential Tremor

Essential Tremor: The Most Common (And Least Known) Movement Disorder

Essential tremor, the most common adult movement disorder, affects nearly 10 million people in the United States. That’s more than 2 percent of the population. Here’s a Q/A with Dr. Duarte Machado, co-director of Hartford HealthCare’s David and Rhoda Chase Family Movement Disorders Center: Q. For something so common, many...