Concussion Management at ProActive Rehab
According to The Public Health Agency of Canada, 50% of Canadians have little to no knowledge about concussions and 1 in 4 do not know how to treat a concussion. As with any type of head injury, it is crucial that treatment is taken seriously. Proper care can make the difference between an athlete returning to sport symptom-free or suffering long term consequences that could prevent them from playing contact sports.
Each year, ProActive Rehab provides training on how to prevent concussions, as well as rehabilitation care to those who have sustained them. Our mission is to educate athletes, parents and coaches on the effects of concussions and the treatment options available.
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a brain injury that temporarily changes the way your brain works.
What causes a concussion?
- A jolt, bump, or blow directly to the head
- A body blow that causes your head to jolt back-and-forth
What are the symptoms?
Concussion symptoms can vary dramatically, making them difficult to detect. Some symptoms may include:
- Headache or feeling of pressure in the head
- Dizziness (e.g. "seeing stars")
- Blurred or double vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Slurred speech
- Delayed response to questions
- Appearing dazed or confused
REMEMBER: Very few concussions actually result in loss of consciousness.
How do I treat a concussion?
It is important to seek medical assistance as early as possible so that a doctor can determine if you have sustained a concussion. Your doctor will also provide you with early recommendations for self care.
How does physiotherapy help in concussion rehabilitation?
- Individualized resting strategies and home instruction
- Modification of academic and/or employment demands
- Neurocognitive (ImPACT) testing
- Visual coordination screening and oculomotor-based rehabilitation techniques
- Balance, coordination, and vestibular-based rehabilitation
- Physical exertion testing and exercise plans for return-to-sport plans
- Referral for specialized optometric assessment where warranted
- Physical therapy for associated complaints (neck pain, whiplash etc.)
Rehabilitation is incredibly important after experiencing a concussion.
Book your appointment with one of our qualified therapists using the form on this page. Our therapists are all level 1 trained providers of the SHIFT Concussion Management program and will be completing level 2 training in October 2018.
Is there something I can do now to improve the likelihood of detecting a concussion?
Consider Baseline Testing
Many health professionals recommend that athletes obtain a baseline test at the beginning of each season. This test shows an athlete’s pre-season cognitive and physical function so, in the event of a concussion, the severity of the injury can be assessed with more accuracy. The ability to compare your pre-season functions against your post-injury functions will greatly improve the recovery process and help determine when it is safe to return to sport or work.
Components to ProActive Rehab’s Baseline Testing
(based on the SHIFT Concussion Management program)
At ProActive rehab, we utilize the Shift Concussion Management Program. Shift uses accessible, individualized and effective concussion management strategies for people of all ages.
The components of the Baseline Test are described below:
Neurocognitive Testing (ImPACT)
ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment & Cognitive Testing. It is a 30-minute computer based test that measures:
- Attention span
- How quickly you process information
- How quickly you respond to instructions
ImPACT is the most widely used and scientifically validated computerized concussion test available. Shift recommends that the ImPACT test is administered by a trained health professional.
Balance & Postural Stability
An athlete’s physical development and athletic skills are unique and will change over time, making a balance assessment highly recommended with each pre-season test.
Balance and posture stability is often affected following a concussive injury.
Visual Coordination Screening
Symptoms of visual dysfunction after a concussion may include:
- Eye pain
- Focusing issues
- Difficulty reading
A baseline test focused on visual coordination can assist health professionals in identifying pre-existing issues as well as issues that arise after after a concussion occurs. From here, professionals can recommend the right form of therapy.
REMEMBER: This test is not comparable to an optometric exam and does not replace your regular eye exams.
Should young athletes undergo baseline testing?
In the past year, we have seen a shift in the research regarding recommendations for the management of concussion in children versus adults, in addition to the passing of Rowan's Law in Ontario.
One of the specific recommendations is that the use of neurocognitive testing in youth sports is not warranted, regardless of the level of play. In light of these new findings, and in alignment with Shift Concussion Management's change in position, we at ProActive Rehab will no longer support baseline testing for youth under the age of 14.
While there continues to be advancements both in the development and use of neurocognitive testing, the research has been unable to provide documentation for the stability of test values over prolonged periods (i.e. duration of one sport season) in children. Because the paediatric brain is developing so rapidly, neurocognitive measures have not been proven as reliable as in older adults and high school athletes. This has shown to be true across many methods of testing typically used in baseline evaluations.
Eliminating the use of baseline testing in youth does not minimize the continued need for the proper education of coaching and training staff. We know that concussive injuries can have many different presentations, with both immediate and delayed onset, sometimes with subtle signs and symptoms. Coaching staff are typically the first line of contact in youth sport once an injury has been sustained, and it is extremely important that they are prepared and educated to take the appropriate action, preventing premature return to play.
How can I learn more?
Book your appointment with one of our qualified therapists today, using the form on this page.
We are also constantly learning about the human body and how to better support our athletes. To stay up to date on our sport and rehabilitative information, sign up for our newsletter!