WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
A concussion is a type of brain injury that can cause long-term brain damage and diminish normal brain functioning. The actual brain injury is caused by a blow to the head or the body causing the brain to rapidly move inside the skull. Concussions can occur from a direct bump or blow to the head or from an indirect cause such as whiplash, a fall, or when players collide. It is important to know that fewer than 10% of sports-related concussions result in a loss of consciousness. That means that the athlete may have a concussion even if they did not lose consciousness.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS & SYMPTOMS?
Signs and symptoms of a concussion may show up right away or they may not appear or be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. It is always important that if an athlete reports any of the following symptoms at any point after an injury, medical attention should be sought.
NeuroCom SMART EquiTest System
Appears dazed or stunned
- Forgets sport plays
- Unsure of game, score, or opponent
- Moves clumsily
- Loses consciousness
- Behavior or personality changes
- Can’t recall events prior to/after injury
Headache or “pressure” in head
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems or dizziness
- Double or blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, or groggy
- Concentration or memory problems
HOW CAN ELEMENT PHYSICAL THERAPY OF MISSOULA HELP YOU?
Physical therapists have recently been added to the medical team for concussion management. The therapists at Element Physical Therapy can evaluate and treat many problems related to concussion. Because no two concussions are the same the physical therapist will provide an individualized exercise and training plan to reduce the symptoms of a concussion including dizziness, headaches, and imbalance. This treatment plan may include vestibular rehabilitation, visual training, manual therapy, balance retraining, and aerobic exercise.
Element Physical Therapy can also perform balance testing with the NeuroCom® SMART Equi-Test to provide baseline measurements prior to the sports season, which can later be compared to in the event of a concussion. This testing not only helps to quantify the severity of the balance problems after concussion, but it is also a reliable measure to indicate when it is safe for the athlete to return to play.