The Region's Premier Team

Dr. Joel Brenner, past chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness, directs the program. He is board-certified in sports medicine and adolescent medicine. He also holds a master's in public health and was a co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics Sports Concussion guidelines.

Dr. Brenner works closely with local middle schools, high schools, and colleges on concussion prevention and has testified at the national and state levels to help protect young athletes through proper legislation.

Our comprehensive, multi-disciplinary team includes pediatric and adolescent sports medicine physicians, pediatric neurologists, pediatric neurosurgeons, certified athletic trainers, sports physical therapists, neuropsychologists, clinical social workers, and pediatric radiologists.

These professionals are among the country's top experts in sports concussions and brain injuries.


A sport concussion is a brain injury caused by a direct or indirect force to the head. It cannot be seen on an MRI or CT and needs to be identified immediately and evaluated by an appropriate health care provider experienced in concussion management. Many sports concussions go unrecognized and untreated, which can lead to long-term problems for the young athlete.

Using the latest medical knowledge, our team will provide an expert evaluation to:

  1. Determine if your young athlete has a concussion;
  2. Design an individualized treatment plan including collaboration with the school to provide the appropriate academic accommodations to support recovery;
  3. Design an individualized, safe return-to-play plan.

How is CHKD's Sports Concussion Program different?

ImpactWe provide state-of-the-art evaluation and management to keep your young athletes safe and help them get back to their sport safely. Young athletes who return to play too soon after a concussion are at risk for long-term brain problems, including prolonged symptoms or even death. Our evaluation will include a thorough review of signs and symptoms, and complete physical examination, including balance assessment, vestibular/ocular motor screening (VOMS) and neurocognitive testing using ImPACT. We are Credentialed ImPACT Consultants (CIC).

Our team has special training in sports concussions for young athletes. Dr. Brenner helped create the Chesapeake Public Schools Sports Concussion Policy and was a co-author of the American Academy of Pediatrics Sports Concussion guidelines. CHKD pediatric neurologist Ralph Northam was the state senator who introduced the sports concussion law in Virginia that mandates protection of student-athletes and is now Governor of Virginia.

In addition to the clinical care we provide to young athletes, we are also very active in educating all health-care professionals locally, regionally and nationally, along with parents, coaches, school personnel, and athletes. If you would like to have our program speak to your group, please call 668-PLAY (7529). Our sports concussion program is also involved with multi-center research on concussion in youth.  

Treatment for Concussions

The most important element of treatment is cognitive and physical rest immediately after the injury. If the child ignores his symptoms and tries to "tough it out," the recovery process could be delayed. Increasing cognitive and physical activity along with return to sports should occur under the guidance of a physician.

Our physical therapists, who are specially trained in vestibular rehabilitation, can work with your athlete to perform specific exercises to help eliminate dizziness, improve balance, and regain sports performance for a safe return to play.

 For more information, call (757) 668-7529.