Sports Medicine Institute brings together some of the best practitioners in their field, with one common goal to utilise their expertise and experience to support people with their sport activities and fast track their rehabilitation with injuries as quickly and safely as possible. Our practitioners remain at the cutting edge of their field by regularly attending and presenting at conference, as well contribution to research and education.


Dr George Pitsis

MBBS, Dip Paeds, M Sp Med, FACSEP

Adult & Paediatric Sport & Exercise Physician


Dr Damien McKay

MBBS BAppSc (Physiotherapy), Dip Paeds, M Sp Med, FRACP

Paediatric Rheumatologist/Sport Medicine

Dr Zoe Burns


Sports Doctor


Dr Dennis Cordato


Consultant Neurologist


Dr Amanda Olley

B. Sc(Psychol)Hons, M. Clin.Neuropsych, PhD, MAPS, FCCN

Clinical Neuropsychologist

What is Concussion?


Concussion is a common type of brain injury, especially in contact sports, with a rapid onset impairment of neurological function. Typically, concussion resolves in short period of time. Occasionally clinical features may have a delayed onset and evolve over minutes or hours after impact.

How does Concussion occur?


Concussion can occur in a number of ways. The most common is a direct blow to the head, either by another object impacting on the head or the head impacting another object causing deceleration (e.g.player’s head hitting the ground hard)

Other mechanisms include “impulse” force transmission to the head via a blow to the neck or elsewhere on the body.



Symptoms reflect a functional rather than a structural disturbance of brain function, this includes poor concentration, memory, balance and coordination, as well as symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, light headedness, drowsiness, nausea, head feels like it’s in a fog, feeling slowed down, emotional, irritability, poor sleep, blurred or double vision, and sensitivity to light and noise.

Treatment and Management?


Diagnosis can be difficult; however, the key is effective and managed treatment to prevent further injury. There is evidence demonstrating concussed players that continue to play are at risk of further significant injury both physically due to altered reaction time, coordination, balance and concentration, as well as further neurological deficit which may result in “second impact syndrome” as a result of loss of the ability of the body to properly regulate blood flow to the brain.

If the athlete is diagnosed with concussion, it is recommended to have physical and mental rest for a period of at least 24-48 hours. This may include time off school or work, and not undertake any strenuous physical activity or anything requiring elevated cognitive function.

Following a concussion event, once symptoms have settled, appropriate neuropsychological testing should be performed.

Return to Play?


After the initial rest period and if the symptoms have settled, the athlete can then begin light to moderate intensity physical activity, as long as the activity doesn’t cause any reoccurrence of symptoms.

The player should then be started on a graded return to activity program. To begin with non-contact and light aerobic activity, which increases in intensity as the player progresses. For contact sports, the intensity should gradually increase to simulated game contact.

If the player remains symptom free, they may resume normal training with the view to return to play. The minimum time to return to play is usually 1 week. However different sporting codes have different protocols.

It is recommended that athletes under 14 years old do not return to contact sport for a minimum of 14 days after the symptoms have cleared.

At any stage during the monitored return if there is a regression in symptoms, the players activity should be downgraded and be reviewed by a medical professional.

How can SMI help?


Concussion can be a complicated issue to manage and professional medical advice is paramount to ensure a safe return to sports, lifestyle and work.

If you need assistance in dealing with concussion our specialist team comprising of Sport and Exercise Physicians, a Consultant Neurologist, Clinical Neuropsychologist and SMI Physiotherapists who are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of concussion and return to play clearances, call us on (02) 9525 -3444 to book and appointment.