Welcome to our Concussion Clinic at Silver Spring
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of a concussion include:
- Appears dazed or stunned
- Answers questions slowly
- Loses consciousness (even briefly)
- Exhibits moody behavior or personality changes
- Can't recall events prior to hit or fall
- Headache or pressure in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish or foggy
- Concentration or memory problems
- Does not feel "right" or is feeling "down"
Consistent with the Maryland and Washington, D.C., athletic concussion prevention laws, athletes suspected of suffering a concussion should remove themselves or be removed from the game or practice immediately, regardless of how mild it seems or how quickly symptoms clear. Continuing to play without medical clearance leaves athletes vulnerable to a more severe brain injury or, rarely, death.
Be aware that symptoms and signs may not appear immediately after the injury and can take hours or days to fully appear. Because athletes may not report their symptoms, coaches, teammates, and parents need to be educated to recognize them and seek appropriate assistance.
Our team offers highly specialized services for people suffering from the lingering — and often life-altering — results of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Our staff provides the correct treatment to those who need help with physical and/or cognitive impairments associated with concussion but do not require hospitalization.
Monday - Friday
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MedStar Health Concussion Clinic participates with most major health insurance plans. If you are unsure if your individual health benefits plan includes receiving in-network services from us, please call your insurance company.
- Karen Laugel, MD, FAAP
Dr. Laugel oversees all HeadFirst clinics and their related clinical activities involving professional medical judgment and the delivery of patient care for mild traumatic brain injuries. She serves as HeadFirst's Medical Director and senior medical liaison to collaborate with the MedStar Health and Righttime Clinical Management teams, as well as with the company's network of specialists and hospitals throughout the state. Additionally, Dr. Laugel frequently cares for patients at the Silver Spring HeadFirst clinic.
Dr. Laugel joined HeadFirst after moving to Maryland from Connecticut, where she founded and served as medical director for HeadZone Concussion Care. Additionally, she has many years of experience as a medical provider in the hospital and pediatric urgent care setting. Dr. Laugel received her doctorate from Howard University College of Medicine, completed a pediatric residency program at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
- Mary Spare, NP-C
Ms. Spare has a clinical background in family practice and urgent care. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from University of Phoenix, Phoenix Arizona and her Master of Science as a Family Nurse Practitioner from Chamberlain University Nursing, Chicago, Illinois. She is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
Rachel Inman, CRNP-BC
Ms. Inman has a wealth of experience in the primary and urgent care settings. She received her undergraduate degree from Washington State University and holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where she was inducted into the National Honor Society.
Daniel Pokrifka, LAT, ATC, ITAT
Mr. Pokrifka has more than 14 years of experience in sports medicine and injury prevention as a nationally Board-certified athletic trainer and is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Association and the Maryland Athletic Trainers Association. Mr. Pokrifka also serves on the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for Frederick County Public Schools. After graduating form the University of Pittsburgh he has been a part of the development of injury prevention programs for Consol Energy Coal and Boeing Commercial Airlines and is currently overseeing the newly implemented PCS exertion testing and therapeutic exercise program for Righttime Medical Care’s HeadFirst Sports Injury and Concussion Program.