What is a concussion?

resolution physiotherapist mandi hayes talks about concussion on rogers daytime. 

resolution physiotherapist mandi hayes talks about concussion on rogers daytime. 

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury, or TBI, caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way the brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a fall or a blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. 

Studies show that up to 50% of athletes experience symptoms of concussion, but only 10% of athletes report these symptoms.  The majority of concussions resolve, if managed properly, within 3 weeks.

We cannot underestimate the importance of education with concussion. We believe that educating our clients about vestibular, ocular and motor issues which occur with a concussion, in a way that is easy to understand, gives our athletes peace of mind and reduces stress which accelerates recovery. We also keep our athletes active throughout their recovery which helps ensure they maintain their fitness level and has been shown to reduce the risk of prolonged symptoms.
— Christine Pratt, Concussion Trained Physiotherapist

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Concussions are very difficult to diagnose and symptoms may not appear immediately. Children, teens and athletes of any age or level may be reluctant to admit or address the possibility of a concussion, either because the effects are so subtle or because they may want to return to their normal activities as soon as possible.

Symptoms of a concussion will vary significantly from athlete to athlete.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Concussions are very difficult to diagnose and symptoms may not appear immediately. Children, teens and athletes of any age or level may be reluctant to admit or address the possibility of a concussion, either because the effects are so subtle or because they may want to return to their normal activities as soon as possible.

This image depicts the "metabolic crisis" which occurs following a concussion.  at precisely the time that The brain requires blood flow to heal, the brain is significantly starved of blood supply.  

This image depicts the "metabolic crisis" which occurs following a concussion.  at precisely the time that The brain requires blood flow to heal, the brain is significantly starved of blood supply.  

Symptoms of a concussion will vary significantly from athlete to athlete.
Common symptoms include:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • balance problems
  • vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • sensitivity to noise
  • visual problems
  • numbness/tingling
  • feeling mentally foggy
  • feeling slowed down
  • difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • irritability
  • sadness
  • more emotional
  • nervousness
  • drowsiness or difficulty falling asleep
  • sleeping more or less than usual

What makes the ImPACT Concussion test such a respected tool for concussion testing?

"ImPACT is supported by a database of clinical research, including more than 250 peer-reviewed and 145 independent studies. The ImPACT test is used by more than 7,400 high schools, 1,000 colleges and universities, 900 clinical centers, 475 Credentialed ImPACT Consultants, 200 professional teams." (www.impacttest.com)

The ImPACT test (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) was developed by PhD Neuropsychologists in Pittsburgh and is now the "most-widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system." (impact test.com)

The ImPACT test was developed to assess complex cognitive functions including visual and verbal memory, attention, visual motor speed, and reaction time, all of which are important to athletic success and are often affected by a concussion.

Our Physiotherapists have completed training directly through ImPACT and are certified as ImPACT Concussion Trained Physical Therapists.   

ImPact concussion management system (image from www.impacttest.com)

ImPact concussion management system (image from www.impacttest.com)

Key Facts about ImPACT (taken from www.impacttest.com)

  • ImPACT is supported by a database of clinical research, including more than 250 peer-reviewed and 145 independent studies.
  • ImPACT's industry-leading normative database increases reliability and validity of testing results.
  • ImPACT assists qualified healthcare providers in the evaluation and management of concussion.
  • ImPACT and its products continue to evolve by incorporating the latest advancements in neurocognitive science and in technology for portability and ease of use.
  • ImPACT offers industry-leading educational resources and tools to raise awareness regarding the importance of proper concussion management. 



Who can take the impact test?

As concussions can occur at any age, we are pleased that ImPACT is indicated for testing in patients aged 5 to 59 years of age. The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test) is indicated for clients aged 12 to 59 and the ImPACT Pediatric is indicated for clients aged 5 to 11.

What is baseline testing and how can it help get athletes back to sport faster?

Athletes complete an ImPACT baseline test when they are injury free, establishing a baseline cognitive score.  When an athlete completes a baseline ImPACT test we are able to compare post-concussion scores with their own ‘normal’ scores, rather than using 'average' scores taken from the general public.  This allows us to more objectively determine when an athlete has recovered fully from a concussion and can safely return to sport.  Many elite sporting organizations, including the NHL and NFL, have mandated that all their athletes complete pre-season baselines.  Baseline ImPACT testing is an excellent way to ensure a safe and fast return to sport for all levels of athletes. 

Why is it important to be assessed by a Physiotherapist who is trained in concussion?

Concussion Barrie.jpg

While the ImPACT Concussion Management Model assists in making return-to-play decisions, it should never be used as a stand-alone tool or as a diagnostic instrument. Evaluating the physical impact of a concussion is a complex process, and should be performed by a Physiotherapist trained in the assessment and treatment of concussions.  Our Physiotherapists have completed post-graduate training in concussion management and are certified as ImPACT Concussion Trained Physical Therapists.  Our team has also completed post-graduate manual Physiotherapy training in the assessment and treatment of upper cervical spine dysfunction, which can lead to symptoms of headache and dizziness, common with concussion.  Our Physiotherapists utilize ImPACT results and in-clinic VOMS testing (vestibular/ocular-motor screening) to develop a physical program to improve post-concussion balance dysfunction. Evaluation of an athlete's upper cervical spine stability, alignment, and myofascial tone is utilized to develop a manual Physiotherapy, cervical core strengthening, and proprioceptive program with the goal of improving cervical spine alignment, headaches, and strength.  

Return to learn is as important as return to play and our Physiotherapists will make recommendations to family physicians and schools about accommodations which can reduce concussion symptom aggravation and help keep kids in school while they recover.  It is also very important to us that an athlete maintains their level of strength and performance while recovering from their concussion.  Our team of Physiotherapists work with each athlete to develop a progressive, sports specific, exertion training program that maintains athletic performance without slowing recovery from concussion.

Concussion treatment by our Physiotherapists is covered by most extended medical plans.  

Direct billing available.

 

 

 

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