Sports Concussion Center

Athletes are vulnerable to concussion. The Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center provides the best possible care for injured athletes of all ages and levels of play. Our team offers care at several locations in Middle Tennessee.

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that changes the way the brain works. Often concussions are caused by a blow to the head, but they can also happen when the head or upper body receives a violent shake. A concussion is a serious condition requiring evaluation and management by a team of medical experts trained in concussion management.

Why Choose Vanderbilt's Sports Concussion Center?

  • Vanderbilt has the only multidisciplinary sports concussion clinic in Tennessee. Our specialists include sports medicine doctors, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, physical and occupational therapists and certified athletic trainers.
  • We care for athletes of all ages and levels of play, at many locations in Middle Tennessee.
  • We are the official provider of concussion care for the Nashville Predators, U.S. Olympic Equestrian teams, the Nashville Sounds, Vanderbilt University athletic teams, Metro Nashville and Williamson County high schools and many private schools and youth sports leagues in the Nashville area. Many of our specialists trained in sports concussion programs through the MLB, the NFL and the NHL.
  • Our experts serve many distinguished organizations, including the Concussion in Sport Group, which writes international guidelines for concussion; the International Equestrian Federation; the USA men’s and women’s Olympic volleyball medical teams; the American College of Sports Medicine; the CDC Pediatrics Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Guideline Workgroup; and the medical advisory board for ImPACT baseline testing. 
  • We offer the only validated baseline testing program in Tennessee. This means our testing is done in our facilities under expert supervision for the most accurate results. It is available for athletes as young as 5 years old. Knowing an athlete's normal cognitive function allows doctors to assess the severity of an injury if he or she receives a concussion. This influences which treatment the athlete will receive.
  • Our doctors are board-certified in their fields, which means they exceed rigorous national standards of excellence.
  • Our team is heavily involved in research concerning symptoms, balance and neurocognitive functioning, both pre- and post-concussion.
  • We send athletic trainers to sports events at 27 Middle Tennessee high schools, helping to provide on-site care in case of injury during play. This means more than 10,000 student athletes have immediate access to care in the event of an injury.

Specialties

  • Sports medicine
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Neuropsychology
  • Physical therapy
  • Athletic training
  • Surgery
  • Sleep assessment
  • Cognitive and behavioral neurological care
  • Headache management
  • Mood evaluation and treatment
  • ImPACT consultation

Sports Concussion Center: Treatment and Programs

Baseline Testing

Vanderbilt has the only sports concussion clinic in Tennessee offering baseline testing for athletes ages 5 and older. The computerized neurocognitive test Pediatric ImPACT is for athletes ages 5-11. The original ImPACT test is used for athletes ages 12 and older. To schedule your baseline appointment, call (615) 875-8722 today.

We recommend athletes have a pre-season baseline test every 1-2 years, depending on their age.

Our program includes a balance assessment; individual neurologic history; and a computerized neurocognitive evaluation.

The Benefits of Baseline Testing

  • Gives a useful comparison to post-concussion abilities
  • ​Gives medical providers knowledge to create personalized plans for recovery and return to play
  • Can allow athletes to return to play sooner, because coaches, athletes, parents and trainers will know goals of recovery

Baseline Testing Packages

Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center works with teams, schools, physician groups and other organizations to provide:

  • Comprehensive baseline testing for all participating athletes, including a balance assessment, neurologic history and computerized neurocognitive evaluation.
  • Onsite training for staff members
  • Concussion educational materials
  • Direct access to Vanderbilt providers
  • Concussion action plans

If an athlete who has had baseline testing suffers a concussion, we use this date to measure the complexity of the injury, the brain systems affected and when it's safe to return to the sport.

ImPACT Consultation and Interpretation

ImPACT is a computerized neurocognitive test used to assess concussions. It influences how a concussion is treated. Sometimes, results of an ImPACT test are uncertain or unclear to the person administering the test. In these circumstances, the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center can review an ImPACT test.

For more information, to make an appointment or refer a patient, please call (615) 875-VSCC.

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Care

 

The Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Clinic at Vanderbilt assesses memory, language and thinking problems that can happen after a concussion. Using clinical and family interviews, a neurologic exam, neuropsychological testing, neuroimaging and lab work, the clinics psychiatrists, neurologists and neuropsychologists diagnose and offer needed care:

  • Headache care
  • Mood evaluation and treatment
  • Neuro-ophthalmology (vision problems related to the nervous system)
  • Neuro-otology care (hearing and balance problems related to the nervous system)
  • Neuroradiology (imaging)

Rehabilitation

At Vanderbilt Orthopaedic Institute Rehabilitation and Medical Fitness, we use a return-to-play (RTP) Protocol that tests athletes in stages while watching for symptoms. The RTP is customized for each athlete's needs.

At Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute

  • Headache care
  • Mood evaluation and treatment
  • Neuro-ophthalmology (vision problems related to the nervous system)
  • Neuro-otology care (hearing and balance problems related to the nervous system)
  • Neuroradiology (imaging)
    • Vestibular (balance) therapy
    • Speech-language therapy
    • Oculomotor (eye movement and function) therapy
    • Cognitive therapy

Patient Resources

Our Concussion Care Team


For Referring Physicians

The Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center provides complete evaluation and treatment services for sports-related concussions in patients age 5 and older.

To schedule a patient for an appointment with one of our providers, please call (615) 875-8722, identify yourself as a healthcare provider and specify the age of the patient you are referring.

Please see our sports concussion guides:

Contact Us

If you think that you, your child or an athlete you coach may have a concussion, call us at (615) 875-8722 to schedule an appointment with a sports concussion specialist. We aim to see patients within 72 hours of their injury.