Thanks to a heavy dose of attention from the media and leading professional sports leagues, concussions are now a hot topic for athletes and those who care about them. Fortunately, SportsCare Institute has recognized the need for a post-concussion rehabilitation program and implemented a six-step return-to-play protocol. Based on symptom tolerance, the program enables certified athletic trainers and physical therapists to properly monitor patients' symptoms, plus physical and cognitive function.
It's estimated that as many as 3.8 million concussions occur annually in the U.S., and while immediate consequences include dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and unconsciousness, a single individual sustaining multiple cases of head trauma can experience more permanent negative effects, including cognitive impairment, depression and nervousness.
“We realize how dangerous concussions can be, so our focus is shifting toward accurate assessment of recovery and patient education," explains Bruce Buckman, DPT. “We offer the most comprehensive rehabilitation possible to ensure athletes don’t return to the game impaired and primed for further trauma. At SportsCare, baseline testing is a key part of our protocol. Comparing the pre and post-concussion test scores allows us to assess results efficiently with physicians and determine when our patients are ready to return to normal activities.”
For patients who already have suffered a concussion, SportsCare Institute has developed a physical therapy program that begins with a comprehensive evaluation to assess musculoskeletal and vestibular functioning, and determine the presence of such concussion-related symptoms as headache, nausea and vomiting. Patients are closely monitored by a physical therapist and referring physician as they progress toward being medically cleared to return to play. Balance training, improvement of hand-eye coordination, and strength-enhancing exercises each are utilized to help patients return to peak condition.
SportsCare Institute's Whippany, NJ and Cedar Knolls, NJ locations both feature sophisticated Biodex objective balance assessment machines that are invaluable in monitoring the progress of post-concussion recovery. Ideally, a baseline figure is assigned to an uninjured athlete -- and if a concussion does occur, the Biodex unit is then able to compare post-injury balance to that individual's healthy level.
“Particularly for our patients who engage in contact sports, we're offering the very latest therapies and technologies," notes Buckman. "These include sensory integration exercises, visual motion sensitivity training, aerobic conditioning, and core strengthening -- all aimed at keeping athletes as healthy as possible."
Research indicates the risk for concussions increases dramatically once an initial concussion has been sustained. This reality further strengthens the case for effective, accurate assessment measures.
About SportsCare Institute, Inc.
SportsCare Institute, Inc. manages a network of physical and occupational therapy centers. The company's goal is providing the highest quality of care available, with an emphasis on preventing injury, treating pain, and recovering function. Each of SportsCare's more than 50 facilities offers the latest technology in rehabilitation, and is equipped with state-of-the art modalities, testing and exercise equipment, and more. Additional information is available online, at http://www.sportscare1.com