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Concussion! What do I do?

While most physiotherapists are trained in basic concussion rehabilitation, our clinics have some of the world's most educated and involved concussion researchers.

Have you had a sports related concussion in the last 6 weeks? We have a specialized Collaborative Concussion Clinic at our Seton location. Read about the concussion program in Seton here.

Step 1

If you have any of the following symptoms after injury, call an ambulance:

  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or tingling/burning in arms or legs

Kathryn Schneider, PT, PhD of Evidence Sport and Spine, is one of the authors on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) "Consensus statement on concussion in sport". Kathryn Schneider is internationally sought for her clinical experience and research. If you have seen her present, you have seen athletes and researchers alike defer to her for answers.

Our physiotherapists have studied the concussion protocols as written by the international author panel and are trained to assess for concussion. The three main components that Physiotherapy can address after a concussion are:

  1. Head on Neck Control (muscular balance)
  2. Vestibular System assessment and rehabilitation (Frenzel goggles available at some locations)
  3. Oculomotor Nerve assessment

Step 2

If you suspect you have, or have been diagnosed with a concussion, call to book to get a medical diagnosis. A medical practitioner will help ensure you are staying within the most current research guidelines.

Step 3

Rest! It is critical to stop your sport and activity for 24-48 hours after a suspected concussion to remove the risk of a second injury.

Read Nicole's blog on how much rest is appropriate after a suspected or confirmed concussion.

The remaining steps will need to be supervised by one of our practitioners. Your return-to-sport or return-to-activity will require a physician clearance. This step is one of the most important things you can do to prevent worsening symptoms and long term concerns. We will collaborate closely with your doctor or one of our physician partners.

Read a blog from Kristen Hunter on the dangers of untreated concussions.

Parents, coaches and trainers need to be part of the prevention strategy. Read the resources available at Parachute Canada and the Canadian Concussion Collaborative and let our multidisciplinary group of clinics take good care of you.

Dr. Kathryn Schneider presents at a panel conference on concussion in Calgary.

The 3 Most Common Questions our physiotherapists get about concussions

Q: How soon can I get back to my sport after a concussion?

A: Rest for 24-48 hours is absolutely paramount after any concussion. Returning to sport or play requires medical clearance. We will collaborate with your doctor or a Sport Medicine Physician as necessary to provide appropriate guidelines for you and a gradual return to sport.

Q: Won't a concussion just get better with rest?

A: The majority of symptoms from a concussion can resolve independently within 10-15 days. Complications can occur without proper medical monitoring and the careful prevention of further injury even within this time period. To avoid long-lasting or serious complications, it is critical to seek a multidisciplinary approach including physiotherapy and sports medicine is critical to avoid& long lasting or serious complications after a suspected concussion.

Q: If I have had a concussion in the past, does that put me at a higher risk of another concussion?

A: Unlike physical injuries, concussion recurrence does not have the same body of evidence involved. Some of this is because a concussion can come from multiple mechanisms of injury, ranging from slipping on ice to sport-related to a car collision. The most important part is to ensure you have medical clearance to begin a gradual return to your activities to reduce the risk of serious complications should a re-injury occur.

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