Concussion Management and Rehabilitation

Concussion - 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.


Neurocognitive Testing

  • Westmount Physiotherapy utilizes the ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tool as part of their concussion management program
  • The ImPACT® is one of the most frequently used and scientifically validated computerized neurocognitive concussion assessment tools
  • 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.