What is a concussion?
A concussion is a form of brain injury resulting from a direct to indirect blow to the head, face or jaw causing an alteration in brain function. Concussions can produce a wide array of symptoms which pose a challenge for coaches, trainers, parents and health professionals involved in the care of an injured athlete.
What is concussion rehabilitation?
Concussion rehabilitation is an approach to treating the symptoms of a concussion, such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. It can include physical therapy, cognitive exercises, rest, and other activities that help the patient recover from their injury. Depending on the severity of the concussion, treatment may involve a combination of physical therapy, cognitive therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications. The goal of concussion rehabilitation is to help patients return to their pre-injury level of functioning and minimize any long-term effects of the injury.
Hamilton Physio & Rehab is a Certified Provider of The Shift Concussion Management Program. Shift is a leader in concussion care and the program is an advanced approach to concussion rehabilitation.
What is the recovery time for a concussion?
The time course of recovery also varies widely from athlete to athlete, making it impossible to employ a “cookie-cutter” approach to concussion rehabilitation and return to participation timelines. For this reason, a growing emphasis has been placed on objective pre-participation (or baseline) testing protocols that can be used to track an athlete’s recovery and serve as a tangible measurement for return to play. The Shift Team believes the pre-participation testing requires a multifaceted approach. Baseline Testing is a vital component to the proper management and rehabilitation of concussive injuries.
Symptoms of a concussion are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Light or noise sensitivity
- Changes in vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Balance problems
- Irritability or depression
Recovering from a concussion looks different for every individual, which is why we provide a tailored approach to our concussion rehab program. The below management strategies are used to limit the amount of impairment as well as expedite recovery as much as possible.
- Individualized resting strategies and home instruction
- Specific recommendations around employment or academic demands
- Manual therapy for associated complaints (neck pain, whiplash etc.)
- Screening and Referral for Vision Therapy if required
- Rehabilitation: Balance, Coordination, and Vestibular-Based
- Physical exertion testing and exercise plans for return to sport
An important and often overlooked cornerstone of return to play preparation is a graduated program of physical exertion testing. It is well known that concussive symptoms are typically aggravated during physical activity.
Injured athletes who may be symptom free should be thoroughly tested with a series of physical tasks to reduce the risk of premature sport activity.
At Hamilton Physio & Rehab we provide a standardized approach to supervised physical exertion testing when the athlete is the appropriate phase of recovery.
- Four Pillars Step 1 – Education - Education is the vital component to the prevention and proper management of this injury. It’s about reaching out to all those affected: players, parents, teachers, coaches, trainers, officials, administrators, and health care providers. It will require a village approach to change the current mindset and provide a safer playing environment for today’s youth.
- Step 2 – Prevention - Through education and sport specific platforms, we aim to change the mindset of the participants from the grassroots level and up.
- Step 3 – Management - It is as important to manage a concussion, as it is to diagnose it. If a concussion does occur, want to be there for the athlete. This is where Shift Concussion Management comes into play – providing a high standard of care for athletes across many different sports and many different regions. Concussion management requires team approach across all disciplines of health care.
- Step 4 – Research - Since concussions are virtually invisible injuries it is important to continue research in this area. Through establishing the stopconcussions.com network of specially trained researchers and qualified health care professionals, the sporting community is significantly enhanced to effectively assess and treat concussed athletes.