Until recently, neuropsychological testing was the only method for evaluating concussions. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to evaluate the effects of a concussive head injury on vulnerable areas of the injured brain. The injured athlete is stimulated by a series of visual and auditory stimuli and elicited responses are obtained that stimulate portions of the brain that have a different appearance in the post-traumatized brain than normal brain. fMRI is being used to evaluate high profile athletes where there is a high economic or competitive need for the athlete to resume high impact sporting activities but also a need to objectify the impact on the athlete’s brain from recent or cumulative head injuries (i.e. professional or elite amateur athletes). fMRI is not available on all MRI scanners and requires additional equipment and neuroradiologists with additional training and experience to render an accurate opinion of the specialized MRI images.
"Teleradiology has revolutionized how we practice sports medicine," says David Schmidt MD, San Antonio Spurs team physician.
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