concussion recovery

What is a Concussion:

A concussion is caused by a direct blow to the head or impulsive force transmitted through the head (whiplash). It is defined by a rapid onset of "short-lived" neurological impairments.
A concussion is a functional disturbance rather than a structural change. Imaging will not be able to diagnose a concussion. Imaging is useful in the diagnosis of skull fractures and hemorrhage.
A concussion is diagnosed via a collection of common features/clinical signs. Only 10% of concussions include a loss of consciousness (LOC).

Physical: LOC/amnesia, coordination*, balance*, dizziness*, headache*, nausea/vomiting, blurry or double vision*, light sensitivity*

Sleep Disturbances: Excessive, unable to initiate, unable to sustain

Behavior: Mood, irritability, labile

Cognitive: Reaction time, attention, memory, concentration, foggy brain


* Symptoms Wasatch Physical Therapy treats

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What happens when the body or head receives a concussive force and why you can sustain a concussion from a jarring force to the body. The brain is the equivalent of putting a jello mold in a sac of fluid and then inside a hard Tupperware container. When you shake the container there will be damage to several areas of the jello mold due to the instability of the structure. This is why every concussion is different, why symptoms can be mild or severe, and why you need to seek medical advice when you sustain a concussion.

Additional Resources:

Concussion Management Fact Sheet

The Queen of Concussions
See our concussion program's feature piece in the Deseret News written by Lee Benson

Lauren's "Defining Moment"
Spotlight from the APTA's PT in Motion June 2016 edition. You can also listen to the article via the podcast in this link.

red flags:

A concussion is not solely a sports related injury. The CDC estimates that 50% of concussions are due to falls. Concussions occur in motor vehicle accidents, falls, playground accidents, sports and a variety of other ways.

Signs to watch for:

Problems could arise over the first 24 - 48 hours. The athletes should not be left alone and must go to a hospital at once if they:

  • Have a headache that gets worse
  • Are very drowsy or can't be awakened
  • Can't recognize people or places
  • Have repeated vomiting
  • Behave unusually or seem confused; are very irritable
  • Have seizures (arms and legs jerk uncontrollably)
  • Have weak or numb arms or legs
  • Are unsteady on their feet
  • Have slurred speech

Remember, it is better to be safe.

Consult your doctor after a suspected concussion.

baseline testing:

Baseline testing allows for an educated decision to be made regarding return to sport.

Wasatch Physical Therapy is proud to work in association with Concussion Educators for all community baseline testing.

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treatment for concussions:

Wasatch Physical Therapy offers early management for concussions including:

  • It is estimated that 90% of concussions will spontaneously recover within the first 4 weeks. Proper early management can ensure a speedy recovery.
  • Physical therapy for headaches, neck pain, and dizziness.
  • Craniosacral Therapy for neural calming and symptom management.

We provide medical recommendations for home therapy to speed up recovery and provide referrals to appropriate medical professionals for additional care and treatment.

Management for Protracted Recovery and Postconcussion Syndrome:

  • Vision therapy can begin as early as 2 weeks post injury. Vision therapy is helpful for individuals who have eye pain/strain with reading, decreased reading comprehension, headaches with school or computer work, and dizziness.
  • For those who continue to have significant symptoms by 2 weeks, early interventions may help to prevent prolonged recovery.
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is important to assist with motion intolerance, vertigo, car sickness and visual disturbances

Wasatch Physical Therapy is proud to work with Think Head First as well as other medical professionals in the area.

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return to learn:

A child cannot be expected to return to sport until s/he can return to school. Evidence proves it is best for children to be at school. Accommodations can be made regarding percentage of the day the child is present, rest breaks, adjustment in workload and extra time for exams.

It is best to implement accommodations early rather than waiting for a 504 or an IEP. The majority of individuals with concussions will only require accommodations temporarily and these accommodations will be decreased as the student's symptoms resolve.

return to sport:

A graded return to sport allows for a safe environment for the athlete to get back out on the field. The protocol is well supported by research and the table below was retrieved from the 2012 Zurich Consensus Statement. A healthcare professional is capable of getting you or your child back to his/her favorite activities while minimizing risk of re-injury.

  • 90% of re-injury occurs within the first 10 days.
  • A safe return to sport should take a minimum of 10 days. However; research is showing it can take up to 30 days for the brain to heal from an initial injury.
  • Children and the elderly take the longest to recover.

Patient Testimonials

Please follow the link below to read actual testimonials about how Wasatch Sports Medicine Concussion Recovery has helped their patients.

Patient Testimonials

Please see the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah's page for support groups and information regarding brain injuries. We are proud to sponsor the BIAU's 5K Run, Walk, and Roll on May 21, 2016. For information to register see the BIAU's website or as us in the clinic!

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