To Schedule An Appointment OR To Book Your Concussion Testing Procedures;
Please Call: (519) 442 -2237
For Concussions it is important to get into the clinic as soon as possible
For more information, click in one of the tabs below
- What Is A Concussion?
- Signs and Symptoms
- Advanced Rehab Process
- Links and Resources
- Physical Exertion Testing
- Vision and Vestibular Therapy
- ImPACT Concussion Testing
- Neurotracker Software (3D Training System)
“Concussions are defined as a COMPLEX pathophysiological process affecting the brain induced by traumatic biomechanical forces.” (Zurich, 2008)
(reference – UPMC, YouTube.com)
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth creating a whiplash effect. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, stretching and damaging the brain cells (axons) and creating biochemical changes in the brain not due to bleeding, tearing or bruising of the brain. Concussions result in temporary alteration of mental functioning. Furthermore this can include physical, emotional/social, cognitive symptoms and sleep disturbances. Signs and symptoms can be delayed appearing hours or days later. Concussions cannot be seen on X-ray or CT scan. Concussions do not have to be a result of loss of consciousness. When a student is injured and has a second concussion while he/she still has symptoms from a previous concussion which can lead to permanent disability and even death. The second injury may be very mild but can progress and have serious consequences.
Concussions are caused by a sudden shift of the brain in the skull. This quick shifting of the brain causes the brain to have altered function and metabolic properties resulting in a variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Even blows to the body, face or head can result in shearing effects leading to rotation injuries as well as flexion/extension injuries. Note: Most gold standard imaging techniques such as MRI and CT will also show up as negative.
Concussion/mTBI is defined as a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, induced by biomechanical forces. Several common features that incorporate clinical, pathologic, and biomechanical injury constructs that may be utilized in defining the nature of a concussion/mTBI include:
1. Concussion/mTBI may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an‘‘impulsive’ force transmitted to the head.
2. Concussion/mTBI typically results in the rapid onset of short-lived impairment of neurological function that resolves spontaneously. However, in some cases, symptoms and signs may evolve over a number of minutes to hours.
3. Concussion/mTBI may result in neuropathological changes, but the acute clinical symptoms largely reflect a functional disturbance rather than a structural injury and, as such, no abnormality is seen on standard structural neuroimaging studies.
4. Concussion/mTBI results in a graded set of clinical symptoms that may or may not involve loss of consciousness. Resolution of the clinical and cognitive symptoms typically follows a sequential course. However, it is important to note that in some cases symptoms may be prolonged. (MTBI guidelines)
Recognition of the signs and symptoms are crucial when diagnosing a concussion. Symptoms can vary from physical dysfunctions, mental disturbances, emotional changes and sleep changes. These symptoms will vary from patient to patient.
Signs May include:
Dazed, confusion, reduced memory, “unsureness”, clumsy, slowly answers questions, possible loss of consciousness, and slower behaviour.
Symptoms May include:
Headaches or intense pressure in head, Concrete head feeling, nauseau or vomiting, reduced balance, dizziness, blurred vision or problems tracking objects, sensitivity to light or noise, slowed down, fatigue, reduced memory, reduced concentration and “does not feel right”.
Red Flags – Get Medical Help ASAP!
1. Progressive worsening headache
2. Worsening vomiting and nausea
3. Unequal dilated pupils
4. Decline in mental status
5. Deteriorated sleep habits
Injured athletes can exhibit many or just a few of the signs and/or symptoms of concussion. However, if an athlete exhibits any signs or symptoms of concussion, the responsibility is simple: remove them from participation. “When in doubt sit them out.” It is important to notify a parent or guardian when an athlete is thought to have a concussion. Any athlete with a concussion must be seen by an appropriate health care provider before returning to practice (including dryland/weight lifting) or competition.
“Having even just one sign or symptom may be a sign that the athlete has had a concussion and should be looked at by a experienced health professional dealing with head injuries”
What Can We Do To Prevent Concussion
1. Education for coaches, staff, parents and students to:
a) Recognize the symptoms of concussion;
b) Remove the athlete from play;
c) Refer the athlete to a physician.
2. Wearing the protective equipment appropriate for the sport engaged in:
a) Equipment should fit properly;
b) Equipment should be well maintained;
c) Equipment should be worn consistently and correctly
3. Students should follow their coaches’ rules for safety and the rules of the sport
4. Instruct absent student/athletes on previously taught safety skills prior to next activity session
5. Parents need to teach their child that it is not smart to participate in sports if they received a head injury
6. It is not a badge of honour to play injured
7. Discourage others from pressuring injured students to play
8. Parents/coaches must not convince the child/student that he/she is “just fine”
9. Sharing of information with the school and the school coaches about any concussions the student may have suffered in the past
10. Provide reassurance, support and request/offer academic accommodations as needed
11. Outline the risks associated with the activity/sport for a concussion
12. Demonstrate how the risks can be minimized e.g. teach proper sport techniques – correct tackling in football, effective positioning in soccer, how to avoid over-crowding when using the creative playground. Take attendance in class and interschool sports and instruct absent student/athletes, on previously taught safety skills, prior to next activity session
13. Document safety lessons e.g. date, time, brief content, list of students in attendance
14. Teach skills in proper progression
15. Enforce the rules of the sport
16. Emphasize the principles of head-injury prevention e.g. keeping the head up and avoiding collision
17. Eliminate all checks to the head
18. Eliminate all hits from behind
19. Check that protective equipment is visually inspected prior to activity and well maintained20. Enforce the principles of: respect for the rules of the game and practice fair play.
- Proper Pacing and detailed concussion education
- Impact Concussion testing (Baseline and post injury testing will be completed on the first visit and usually 2-4 weeks thereafter)
- Our extensive concussion trained multidisciplinary rehab team includes physiotherapy, sports chiropractic, acupuncture, Bioflex laser therapist, counselling, kinesiologists, personal training and family medicine physicians
RETURN TO PLAY
Current recommendations are for a stepwise return to play program. In order to resume activity, the athlete must be symptom free and off any pain control or headache medications. The athlete should be carrying a full academic load without any significant accommodations. Finally, the athlete must have clearance from an appropriate health care provider. The program described below is a guideline for returning concussed athletes when they are symptom free. Athletes with multiple concussions and athletes with prolonged symptoms often require a very different return to activity program and should be managed by a physician that has experience in treating concussion. The following program allows for one step per 24 hours. The program allows for a gradual increase in heart rate/physical exertion, coordination, and then allows contact. If symptoms return, the athlete should stop activity, notify their healthcare provider before progressing to the next level. When returning, the athlete must start with the step last completed successfully.
Stage 1 – Complete cognitive and physical rest
Stage 2 – Light aerobic exercise
Stage 3 – Increase sport specific exercise
Stage 4 – Non contact practise
Stage 5 – Full contact practise
Stage 6 – Return to Full Activity
As athletes return to sport we run ALL athletes through physical exertion testing specific to their sport.
Full 7500 sqr ft gym facility used for all our exertion testing procedures. The facility is connected to our main rehab facility Cobblestone Medicine and Rehab Centre.
Some of our amazing athletes performing parts of their Cobblestone exertion testing program!
The visual system is often significantly affected by concussive injury. In some, symptoms of visual dysfunction may resolve in a short time frame, while in others symptoms may be ongoing for weeks or even months. Symptoms of visual dysfunction following head trauma may include headache, eye pain, difficulty reading, dizziness, focusing issues, and double vision.
For athletes suffering from persistent concussion-related symptoms, it is vital that they undergo visual screening to determine if a dysfunction is present. Most disorders of the visual system following head trauma are highly treatable if identified.
Our Health Professionals in the clinic are trained to identify and treat those athletes who may be suffering from a visual dysfunction post-concussion or post trauma. If further more specialized treatment procedures are necessary we can refer them to our qualified on- site Optometrist for assessment and rehabilitation as required. We currently have an Optometrist on staff who provides our specialized vision rehab resources and specialized eyewear if necessary.
Below are some amazing results we have had in the clinic with vision therapy and prism glasses:
Example Case Studies
Actual Patient 1 – No glasses and beginning vision/vestibular therapy
Same Patient – Given Prescription reading glasses, 3 weeks Vision/ Vestibular therapy
Same Patient – Given Specialized Prism eyewear, 4 weeks Vision/Vestibular therapy
Strong Vestibular dysfunction due to car accident head trauma
No compression garments/postural support
Now Adding Compression Garment/ Postural support
Amazing results and improvement!
ImPACT Concussion Testing Software
In order to bring you the highest standard of concussion care, we provide a full-service concussion testing and rehabilitative program. A vital component of concussion management involves obtaining a pre-season or “baseline” test. Baseline testing is essential for athletes at risk of concussive injury as it provides an important point of reference when managing head injury and determining readiness to return-to-play. We thank you for taking a proactive approach to concussion management and participating in our baseline program.
Our testers administer a supervised ImPACT® assessment (computerized neurocognitive test). ImPACT® is the most widely used and scientifically validated concussion assessment tool available (www.impacttest.com). The program measures multiple aspects of cognitive functioning in athletes, including:
Sustained and selective attention time
Non-verbal problem solving
In addition to ImPACT® testing, we recommend baseline assessment of both balance and visual coordination, as these skills are often impaired following a concussion. (Please note that our baseline visual screen in no way replaces the routine eye care provided by your regular eye doctor).
Should you sustain a concussion during the sporting season, the first step is to seek immediate medical attention. If a concussion is diagnosed or suspected, please contact us as early as possible to book a follow-up assessment. Our healthcare professionals are highly trained in the assessment and rehabilitation of these types of injuries and will work collaboratively with the GP, Pediatrician or Sport Physician involved in your medical care.
We require a completed consent form prior to test administration. If you have been given the consent form in advance, please fill it out and bring it on testing day or forward it to us ahead of time. If you have not been given a consent form one will be provided to you at your appointment. In order to ensure a smooth testing process, we ask that you
ARRIVE 15-30 MINUTES IN ADVANCE OF YOUR APPOINTMENT.
What is ImPACT?
- The first, most-widely used, and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system!
- Used by all professional sports organizations (NFL, NBA, NFL, MLB)
- Providing a comparison of player with himself/herself, documenting pre-existing disabilities and documenting effects of previous concussions
2 Different Tests to Serve Your Athlete’s Needs!
Pediatric Impact Testing on players
Ipad based testing for kids 10 and under**
Adult Impact Testing
Computer based program for ages 10 and over**
NeuroTracker As A Concussion Tool
NeuroTracker Clinician is a 3D visual training system that provides a uniquely valuable tool to aid professionals in the assessment and treatment of concussion and brain trauma. NeuroTracker stimulates vision, vestibular and cognitive systems to help patients with PCS recover their ability to integrate and interpret multiple streams of sensory information. NeuroTracker enables clinicians to precisely align the intervention to the needs of the patients.
Sensitive to changes in high-level cognition function
Provides a practical baseline
Produces objective session scores
Applies to areas beyond recovery, such as performance training & assessment
Quick 6 minute sessions
How does NeuroTracker apply to the concussion recovery process?
NeuroTracker is a versatile rehabilitation tool that facilitates concussion rehabilitation in three distinct ways:
1. Post-concussion syndrome rehabilitation
NeuroTracker allows for stabilization, integration, and loading of the systems affected by concussion and brain trauma.
NeuroTracker session options can be personalized to provide controlled neurostimulation in short 6-minute sessions.
2. Injury assessment and Return-to-Play
NeuroTracker is sensitive to the changes in high-level cognitive function that occur when an individual sustains head trauma.
Following an injury, the drop in NT score can be used as an objective measure to help assess injury and determine safe RTP status.
3. Simple protocol, flexible treatment options
Trainers typically treat their patients with NeuroTracker twice a week for a month, for 15 to 20 minutes per visit.
The training can be administered inpatient, outpatient or remotely as a telemedicine application under supervision.
Once patient has recovered, NeuroTracker can also be used for performance enhancement and readiness assessment. For advanced training, NeuroTracker can be combined with a variety of dual-tasks, such as balance or skill-specific exercises, which increase the difficulty and make the training relevant to performance objectives.
By measuring deviations from baseline scores, coaches can assess whether an athlete is cognitively ready to perform or whether their training load should be altered. This assessment can be performed daily by the athlete on a personal computer or tablet.
“Our goal is to make our therapies and rehabilitation strategies as functional as possible for the patient so that we can ensure transfer into the demands of their daily activities.
This is where NeuroTracker has become an invaluable tool in our practice.”
OUR PROMISE TO YOU
Our start to finish Concussion management team will get your athlete back to sport and school as soon and as safely as possible! Despite prevention strategies listed above, head injuries will still occur. Our staff and volunteers who are involved in intramural or inter-school athletics or any part of the health and physical education curriculum will not be held personally liable in a civil proceeding for an act or omission if the person acts reasonably in the circumstances and in good faith.
If you have ANY questions or concerns about your athlete, please call us as soon as possible, we are here to help!