What is it?

  • A concussion is a form of brain injury resulting from a blow to the head, face or jaw that adversely affects the normal function of the brain.
  • Concussions can cause a wide array of symptoms and the time course for recovery can vary widely from person to person. This makes it difficult to employ a “cookie-cutter” approach to concussion rehabilitation and return to participation timelines. 
  • Objective pre-participation testing (“Baseline testing”) can be used to track an athlete’s recovery and serve as a tangible measurement for return-to-play.
  • Baseline testing is a vital component to the proper management and rehabilitation of concussive injuries.

Impact Baseline Testing (Neurocognitive Testing)

  • Computer based neurocognitive testing protocols are widely used in concussion management.
  • There is evidence to show that a “symptom free” person/athlete will still demonstrate cognitive deficits during computer based testing, making return to play decisions even more difficult.
  • Computer based neurocognitive testing assesses: memory, reaction time, attention span and problem solving. 
  • This is just one piece of the overall concussion management strategy.

Physical Testing

  • Concussions often affect balance and visual function, and knowing baseline abilities in these two functions can also help with post-injury assessment and management, as well as increasing confidence in return to play decisions.

Concussion Rehabilitation

  • Components of concussion rehabilitation include
  • Patient specific rest strategies and home instruction
  • Academic/employment advice
  • Manual therapy for secondary impairments (WAD, neck pain, muscle soreness)
  • Screening and referral for vision therapy
  • Balance, coordination and vestibular-based rehab.
  • Physical exertion testing and exercise plans for return to sport.

Early post-injury assessment is important to developing and implementing a patient specific management plan in order to resolve concussion symptoms and foster a return to normal brain function and return to sport and normal daily activities.