The Community Sports and Therapy Center is pleased to announce that they are offering an advanced Concussion Management program. The Concussion Management Team at Community Sports and Therapy Center is available to provide assistance to progress the patient back to normal activities as quickly as possible. Following a thorough evaluation, this program provides specific suggestions, researched based guidelines, and treatments specifically chosen based on deficits found.

A concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. They may also occur from a fall or blow to the body that causes the head and brain to move quickly back and forth. Most people can recover fully within days, weeks, or a few months; however, if not addressed and managed appropriately, symptoms can last even longer and serious consequences can occur.

Head impacts and concussions caused by contact sports are a rapidly growing epidemic among young athletes. When left undetected, concussions can result in long-term brain damage and may even prove fatal. It is critical that coaches, players and parents are aware of the inherent dangers and how to properly perform a concussion evaluation in order to preserve the young athlete’s head health, mental cognition and ability to succeed.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics show that the amount of reported concussions has doubled in the last 10 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits for concussions in children ages 8 to 13-years-old has doubled, and concussions have risen 200 percent among teens ages 14 to 19-years-old in the last decade.

Early symptom identification is essential with coaches, athletic trainers, and even parents often being the first to identify the signs of a concussion. Treatment components include physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services. When managing a suspected concussion specially trained Physical Therapist Heidi Lemmerman will perform a thorough evaluation to assess areas of cervical dysfunction, visual and oculomotor issues, vestibular issues, and balance. Treatment may consist of modalities, manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, gait and balance activities in a supervised environment with monitoring of physical symptoms and reactions.

“Often times after the person with a concussion has rested and allowed the brain ‘to heal’ they are feeling back to normal and ready to resume activity. However, once we have fully tested them, often they are still testing abnormally in one or more areas and may not even realize it,” said Lemmerman. “Should that person return back to a sport or other more involved activity without completely resolving the concussion first, it could result in another significant or serious injury ranging from a severe orthopedic injury to a second concussion. By performing our thorough evaluation process and subsequent treatment, we have had patients very successfully return to sport and work without further symptoms or injuries.”

Monitoring for recurrent signs of concussion after return to activity is imperative and is often performed by one of our athletic trainers who cover all of Mercer County schools. Our trainers and therapists work closely together to coordinate the most appropriate plan of care for their athletes.

Speech Language Pathologist, Andrea McGee, MA, CCC-SLP, ST Director, will perform a complete standardized assessment in cognitive linguistics areas which may include the following: memory, orientation, problem solving, attention, reasoning, organizational language, and abstract thinking.

“Cognitive functions involve all aspects of daily living. I have had great success with teaching compensatory strategies and other skills that allow safe return back to school, work, and just daily living tasks without an increase in symptoms,” states McGee. “This is accomplished by teaching the patient to know and understand the triggers to their concussion symptoms, how to decrease them and outline a controlled approach back into their normal day.”

However, this program is not developed just for athletes. While most people relate concussions to sports, statistics from the CDC show that falls are actually the leading cause of TBI. Falls accounted for 47% of all TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States. These typically affect the oldest and youngest populations.

“It is important to remember that each concussion is different and that means each treatment plan is different,” McGee adds. “A 17-year-old football player’s treatment will be entirely different than a 42-year-old’s treatment plan because their daily cognitive functions are so varied. I am lucky enough to work with patients of all ages.”

The Concussion Management Team is a multidisciplinary effort that can include your physician, family, school, coach, work supervisor, athletic trainer, and/or other therapies, to assist you in your return to your prior level of function. Our Concussion Management Team will assist you in understanding and managing the various symptoms of concussions and to decrease the chance of prolonged symptoms such as Post-Concussion Syndrome.

If you suspect you or someone you know has a concussion, immediately seek medical attention. Once diagnosed, contact our office at 419-678-OHIO to schedule an appointment with our Concussion Management Team to ensure a full recovery.