News & Events

Concussion Focus, What Is It? 

Over my five years as a physical therapist, I have been a part of many teams and have taken on many different roles, each of which has grown me as a professional and as a person.  One of my favorite roles is serving with the Concussion Focus team. Today I want to tell you a little about the team and what we do!  

Concussion Focus was originally started in the midst of a rising awareness of concussions. At that time, there were few multidisciplinary options for concussion treatment. Concussion Focus brought together physicians, physical therapists, psychiatrists, athletic trainers, and people passionate about and well trained in concussion management.

The Concussion Focus team continues to meet every other month.  The team is unique as we each represent separate organizations, but when we gather to meet we all take off those hats and come together to do our best to impact concussion treatment. In our meetings, we discuss ways to support each person’s individual efforts in regard to concussions, share current research and swap case studies. We also set a goal each year as a group to get the word out about advancement in concussion treatment.

This year we will be writing a series of blogs as a team with the intent of helping to provide resources to people dealing with concussions.

If you would like to learn more about concussions or Concussion Focus, please go to concussionfocus.org. Be on the lookout for more blogs to come from my colleagues on the Concussion Focus team!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT


What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

If you are suffering from post-concussion symptoms, you may feel helpless and think there is no way to help speed up the process of recovery. But there is a way! 3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)

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Concussions are now more widely recognized in the world of sports, in work safety and in the medical world than ever before. According to the CDC, a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works.

 

1 out of every 5 people who sustain a concussion WILL NOT recover in the normal 2-3 week time frame.

Though they may appear to be functioning just fine, people suffering from a concussion may be dealing with an array of symptoms. These symptoms include time lost from school/work, time out of sports, headaches, dizziness, nausea, balance problems, fatigue, and the list could go on.

If you have had a concussion and are struggling with fully recovering, don’t wait any longer. Click the button below to schedule a consultation.

Schedule a Consultation

Concussions and the Classroom: Bridging the Gap

Concussion Focus & Athletes’ Training Center
Guest Blog Author: Becky Docter, MA, ATC, Sports Medicine Athletic Trainer Children’s Hospital & Medical Center

Becky Docter is an Athletic Trainer who joined Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in 2016.  Previously, she spent a decade working as an Athletic Trainer in the secondary school setting in Omaha. She continues to advocate for education in youth concussion across the state of Nebraska.  She Co-Chairs the Metro Brain Injury Regional School Support Team (BIRSST) and serves on multiple concussion education groups including Concussion Focus.org and Concussion Coalition.  Becky received her Bachelor’s degree from Doane College and her Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  She is very involved in professional service on the state level serving on the education committee for Nebraska State Athletic Trainer’s Association, (NSATA) serving on the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Athletic Training Board, and working with the Board of Certification (BOC) to create standards for professional education in athletic training.  Becky and her husband just welcomed their first baby boy to their family this May.

Return to Learn

What is it?

Return to Learn is an amendment to the Concussion Awareness Act that was passed in July 2012.  The Return to Learn Amendment was added in July 2014, stating that a return to learn protocol be established for students that have sustained a concussion.  The protocol shall recognize that students who have sustained a concussion and returned to school may need informal or formal accommodations, modifications of curriculum, and monitoring by medical or academic staff until the student has fully recovered.

Download Full .pdf Blog: Concussion and the Classroom Bridging the Gap


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Concussion Return to Work: Plan of Action

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD

Returning to work after a head injury poses unique challenges. It may seem unclear what steps to take or how far you should push yourself as you return to work. A good place to start would be discussing the situation with your employer and physician.

A sudden noise, bright lights, a computer screen, physical exertion or mental activity may not be well tolerated by the recovering brain. It is most helpful to me when patients bring a list of job expectations to their office visit so we can develop a reasonable plan for modifying their work and predict which aspects may cause problems.

Job Details: Driving expectations, screen time, noise levels, physical activity and levels of responsibility/decision making are very important to know when formulating a reasonable return to work plan.

You may need to start with a few days off from work (or longer) to start your recovery. When you are ready to start back to work, sometimes working a few hours at a time or half days are more appropriate. It is common to experience fatigue and mental exhaustion at the end of the day or the end of a week. Making adjustments such as doing more challenging work at the start of the day might help.

Even though you are able to return to work, you may find frequent breaks to be helpful, even necessary.

Back to Work Tips:

  • Changing the settings on screens to include larger text and lower brightness. 
  • Adjust lighting in the workspace.
  • Try using noise canceling earphones/earbuds. 

These changes may help provide fewer stimuli and relief to a brain while it is still recovering.

Once you are back to work, try to avoid situations where you have to learn new skills if possible. Training and testing are generally less successful while you are healing.

Use extra caution in high-risk jobs, especially those with little margin for error. Try to get a good night sleep between work shifts. Worsening concussion symptoms or fatigue might be a sign that you are doing too much too fast. If you can identify triggers that make your symptoms worse, be sure to bring these up so efforts can be made to avoid or minimize these triggers. For example, multitasking may be more difficult than working on one task at a time.

Above all patience can be your best friend. Focus on what you are able to do and take one day at a time. Pushing through does not lend itself to a faster recovery.

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to email any one of us at the concussion focus team. 

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Debunking 7 Common Concussion Myths

Hello, my name is Josiah Parker, PT, DPT, I am a physical therapist at Athletes’ Training Center. Although I treat a wide array of patients, concussions are one of my favorite areas to treat. I’ve attended courses at the University of Pittsburg and the American Academy of Neurology for specialized training in this area. 

We have learned so much about concussions over the last 10 years but there is so much left to be learned. This influx of information has been great for the rehabilitation of patients with concussions however, there is still a ton of misinformation out in the public. My goal with today’s blog is to shed some light on some of these common concussion myths.

Myth 1. Concussions only affect athletes and only on the field

False, I see many patients who get concussions from everyday activities such as work, driving, etc.

Myth 2. Concussions always come with a loss of consciousness

False, I would say from my experience less than 20 percent of the concussions I see experience a loss of consciousness. The biggest predictor of a longer recovery after a concussion is actually feeling dizzy after sustaining a concussion.

Myth 3. The person needs to just rest until all concussion symptoms are gone

False, rest is very important after a concussion but simply cocooning yourself after a concussion is detrimental if done for longer than 48 hours. After that 48 hours sleep continues to be very important and should be prioritized but along with this, a slow progression back into activities is very important for full recovery.

Myth 4. If I wear the right type of helmet, I will not get a concussion

False, helmets are very effective at preventing injuries such as skull fractures but concussions can be caused by the brain-twisting inside the skull or hitting the front and back of the skull. Both of these mechanisms of injury are not prevented through helmet use. Don’t get me wrong helmets are a good thing to wear but they are not a foolproof way to prevent a concussion.

Myth 5. My MRI/CT scan was clear so I don’t have a concussion

False, neither one of these scans are able to detect a concussion. They are able to rule out more serious conditions such as a brain bleed but concussion damage is on a more microscopic level which is not picked up on these scans.

Myth 6. People with concussions should wake up every 2-3 hours after a concussion

False, uninterrupted sleep is very important after a concussion, especially in that initial 48-hour window. There is not any research showing interrupting sleep is helpful even on the first night after a concussion.

Myth 7. Concussions are a minor injury

False, many concussions resolve quickly with little to no long-term effects. However, the more concussions someone gets the longer symptoms last and the more intense they are. There are some people who have lasting symptoms for months or even years after a concussion. Therefore though most concussions are not life-threatening, may be life-altering.

The effects of these concussions cause interruption in daily activities, making the return to work/school challenging and can be very frustrating. This is not an all-inclusive list but as you can see there are many wrong ideas about concussions.

If you or someone you know are suffering from post-concussion symptoms, know there is help available and many times rehabilitation can help to speed up the recovery process. Use the information below to get in contact with someone who can help guide this process for you!

Call us at 402.932.7111. or visit concussionfocus.org

Written By: Josiah Parker, DPT, PT


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Tips for Managing Sleeping After A Concussion

Guest Blogger Introduction: Rebecca Lancaster, MD – Methodist Physicians Clinic

Rebecca is a graduate of Creighton University Medical School and Clarkson Family Medicine Residency.  She is a board certified Family Medicine Physician.  Rebecca began managing athlete concussions in 2010 when she became one of the first ImPACT certified physicians in Nebraska. 

She has continued to assist concussion patients in private practice and more recently at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Her concussion patients now extend beyond athletes to include all age groups, as is consistent with family medicine, and varying degrees of head injury from acute concussions to post-concussion syndrome. Rebecca continues to be active in Concussion Focus and concussion education in the Omaha community.  Her goal in treating concussion patients is to understand where they are in their recovery,  help them through with the resources we have available and return them to their fullest quality of life after these most unfortunate head bumps.

Ah, sleep!  It is oh so important when you are recovering from a concussion, but what do you do when the injured brain does not want to sleep? 

Sleep habits become more essential post-concussion.  Scheduling regular sleep, wake times, and sticking to them helps. Here are a few tips you can implement to help manage sleep after a concussion. 

Managing a Concussion: Sleeping Tips

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Minimize screen usage such as phones, computers, TVs, and reducing exposure to brighter lights before bed will help.

Try relaxing activities, meditation, stretching or reading if tolerated can be helpful before bed.  A short nap can be okay during the day, but if it starts to impair your ability to fall asleep, you may want to limit the duration of the daytime resting or eliminate it all together.  Physical activity is helpful during the day if you can tolerate some, but physical activity just before bedtime can make you more alert.  Decreasing or eliminating caffeine helps as well. 

And what if these tactics still do not work?

Sometimes an over the counter sleep aid like melatonin starting at a dose of 1 mg – 3 mg can be helpful to drift off to sleep easier. If headaches are a bother as well, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, at an appropriate dose for your age, prior to sleep may help.  You may also want to talk with your physician about medications that can diminish headaches as well as assist in sleep. 

Overall it is perfectly reasonable to start examining and modifying sleep habits. It may take some discipline and patience as you try a few nights with your new sleep routine. This course has no side effects and could lead to fewer concussion symptoms. If the concussion, however, has caused more difficult to manage sleep cycles, do not hesitate to seek help.

Sweet dreams!

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Time to Start the Discussion: Concussion Management 

Guest Blog Author: Tom Buehler, ATC

Concussion. There it is. That word that everyone knows about but no one wants to talk about. The second I say the word “Concussion” I see the reaction on the face of the athlete, the parent and the coach: Fear, anger, confusion, disbelief, skepticism, disapproval, disappointment, concern, and even sometimes acceptance. Over the last several decades the way we understand and manage concussions has evolved immensely and if you ask any person trained in concussion management they will tell you we have just begun to scratch the surface.

As an athletic trainer, I have training and several years of experience in the acute management of sport-related concussions (SRC). Recognizing the signs and symptoms while on the sidelines is the first step in the proper management of an athlete who has suffered a concussion. 

Below is a list of common symptoms a concussed athlete can display:

• Headache
• Foggy Feeling
• Emotion
• Loss of Consciousness
• Amnesia
• Balance Impairment
• Irritability
• Slowed Reaction Time
• Lethargy
• Drowsiness
• Anger

If you or your child have been a part of athletics, then you undoubtedly have seen this list before or one like it. Concussion symptoms can be acute or have a delayed onset. It is imperative to take all symptom reporting seriously and not diminish the significance of a symptom that has been reported to you.

Now that you have recognized you or your athlete is displaying one or more of the signs and symptoms of a concussion, what do you do now?

Removal of any player who is suspected of having a concussion is critical and is the state law in Nebraska. Before returning to activity after a suspected concussion, the athlete must be evaluated by a licensed health care professional who has training and experience in concussion management. If no health care provider is available, a coach or parent needs to arrange for urgent referral to a physician even if this means a trip to the emergency room.

There are several important variables in the acute management of a concussion. Number one, two and three are communication. Communication of information between coaches, players, parents, teammates and health care professionals is essential for player safety. In addition to communication, we need to start to understand how concussions present. It’s not always going to be black and white. Concussions live in the gray.

The biggest roadblock I encounter is the parent who “knows better.” Note to parents and coaches: Don’t mitigate concussion symptoms based on your own agenda, don’t overlook symptoms that don’t fit your understanding of concussions and don’t try to convince yourself that it’s no big deal. LOOK and LISTEN to what your athlete is telling you and “when in doubt sit ‘em out.”

It’s time to start the discussion. Concussion doesn’t have to be this ugly buzzword that no one talks about. The potential for permanent injury or death as it is related to concussions has been well established. A 15-year-old athlete only sees one step ahead. It’s our responsibility as the adults in his/her life to see past the next play, next series, or next possession and understand what is really at stake.

Guest Blog Author: Tom Buehler, ATC, Athletic Trainer CHI Health Millard West High School

 


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Vestibular Therapy – Concussion Treatment #3

Do you or someone you know experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, difficulty reading, or have problems concentrating? If you have been reading my concussion blog series, you know these symptoms can be caused by neck pain but they can also be caused by vestibular dysfunction.

If you haven’t read my previous concussion blogs you may find it helpful to read them before you continue


3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!
Understanding Exertion Therapy – Concussion Treatment #1
Musculoskeletal Therapy – Concussion Treatment #2 Is Neck Pain a Predictor of a Concussion?

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What you may ask, is your vestibular system

Glad you asked! Your vestibular system is housed in your inner ear and its job is to give your brain information about your body’s movement and position.  When it is functioning well it helps you to balance along with your eyes and the sensory receptors in your joints. However, in the case of concussion where your vestibular system is no longer functioning correctly, it sends incorrect signals to your brain, which can lead to the symptoms that started this article.

Fortunately, this cause of concussion symptoms can also be treated through exercises involving eye and head movements. These exercises are used to help re-train you to correctly use your vestibular system.

For a healthy individual these exercises may seem quite simple but for someone with a concussion they will prove to be quite challenging at first, but with practice will improve and help to increase quality of life.

The other piece of treating the vestibular system is working on balance activities. These activities progress from a large base of support on two legs and progress to smaller bases of support until balancing on one leg. As people progress into more challenging exercises they gradually see their symptoms decrease.  This is the final tool I use in my standard approach to concussion rehabilitation!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

Learn more about our rehabilitation for concussion treatments.

What Everybody Ought to Know About: Concussion Protocol Evolution

Around 2004, while the head athletic trainer at a Class A high school in Lincoln, NE, I had the good fortune of being part of a research study that was looking at the use of a computerized tool for assessing concussion. The name of the program was ANAM and it assessed things similar to what we know today as ImPact.  In watching football players take this test after sustaining a concussion and comparing it to their baseline, I started to notice something that made me sick to my stomach.

Kids were not recovering in the 7 day window which we used at the time as the standard for clearing them to play again after concussion.

Especially freshmen and sophomores.

Concussions Early 2000’s.

Dr. Lori Terryberry-Spohr, a phenomenal practitioner and researcher at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital, was instrumental in helping me understand what this program was finding and why it was starting to concern me.   I was noticing athletes were still symptomatic even after returning to play.  They were struggling with quick and accurate decisions – which is something essential to playing sports effectively and safely.  I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 

I was starting to question how I was handling concussions and wondered if we needed to start doing things a little differently.  The other athletic trainers in my school district were wondering the same thing. 

 

At the same time, the national landscape was changing drastically in regards to managing concussions and in a very short amount of time we are where we are today.  No longer do we rate concussions in severity and no longer do we use a variety of grading scales that vary from liberal to conservative. You either have one or not.  Terms like bell rung, dingers, and stuns are not used any longer.

Concussions Today

All sorts of technology exists to aid athletic trainers and other sports medicine practitioners with concussion management.  There are state laws in place with the hope of protecting young athletes from continuing play after sustaining a concussion Nebraska LB 923.  Most importantly, we have much better approaches to return to play and now return to learn.

The more interesting point is all of this new information has streamed, really flooded, into mainstream media and the households of America.  Yet I still have to endure the verbal lashing from a parent when I explain why their athlete can’t finish the game and will probably be out for a minimum of 2 weeks. I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.  I still have to read doctor’s notes clearing kids a day later.  

Yes, I said doctor.

I still have to drum like the Energizer bunny advocating on behalf of the kid whose parents refuse to associate the decline in school with the concussion their athlete sustained months earlier.

 

The good news is the greater majority of athletes, parents, and practitioners get it now and this has led to some really great multidisciplinary approaches to helping athletes recover from concussion.  A great example is the team of providers in Omaha that participate in Concussion Focus.  My colleague Josiah Parker leads that team.  He has immersed himself in knowledge and practice techniques to provide post-concussion physical therapy and for the small percentage of cases that don’t resolve normally he can make all the difference in the world for their recovery.

Obviously I did the best I could back then based on the information we had at hand.  I also feel extremely grateful the kids I sent back out did okay.  Today, though, I know so much more and am appreciative for all of the resources that exist for kids in relation to concussions.

Written By: Danielle Kleber, ATC Director of Marketing & Operations

Question:  Do you know which sport has the second highest incidence of concussion (next to football)?

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Is Neck Pain a Predictor of a Concussion?

How to treat neck dysfunction and concussion symptoms with musculoskeletal therapy.

Imagine with me for a minute the following scenario:

You are playing in the state basketball championship and your team is up by two points in the fourth quarter. You get a steal so you scoop up the ball and begin sprinting with a seemingly easy lane to the hoop.

In your head you know a dunk would give your team a much-needed momentum boost.  You are just getting ready to go up for the shot then, suddenly, out of nowhere you get knocked out of the air from behind.AdobeStock_103463056S_smaller

The next thing you know, you are falling towards the ground and BANG you hit your head violently on the court. What the heck just happened?

Now fast forward with me a few hours. The game is over and you are sitting in the living room at home. Your parents tell you that you sat out for the remainder of the game. Wait, why did I sit out?

They went on to tell you that you complained of a massive headache and you were feeling dizzy, foggy, had neck pain and you were having some memory issues. Now, you realize that they are telling the truth because you didn’t remember if you had won the game or not.

In the story I just shared with you, the person did sustain a concussion from his basketball game. But in some cases, people may have similar symptoms, as listed above, without any trauma to the brain.

This can make things tricky for the practitioner who is treating this type of patient.

Neck Pain vs. a Concussion

There is a major difference between concussion patients and neck pain patients. Neck pain patients can tolerate higher-level activities right away while a concussion patient may need more rest immediately with a gradual return to activities. 

In my opinion, this dynamic is one of the reasons I, as a primarily orthopedic physical therapist, make a good member of the concussion rehab team.

This is where I use what I termed “musculoskeletal therapy” in my opening concussion blog, 3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

Musculoskeletal therapy is simply a fancy term that means, I look at your neck, see if there are any deficits, and treat them accordingly.

Treating both the concussion related symptoms and the neck dysfunction related symptoms at the same time gives us the best chance for the quickest return to your desired activities!

If the symptoms listed above describe you, then call to set up an appointment to get evaluated today!

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

Question: Do you have any questions for a physical therapist about the musculoskeletal therapy component in our concussion therapy treatment program?

The Football Helmet vs. Concussions

Who is excited for the Super Bowl this weekend? I know I am as football is definitely my favorite sport to enjoy as a spectator. Along with my role as a spectator though, I am also a provider who may treat those players who may sustain a concussion from participation in this sport. It is this role which led me to find research on the efficacy of helmets protecting against concussions.

Let’s dive into one of the questions that I receive pretty frequently. Do football helmets protect against concussions?

The head can sustain many types of trauma in the midst of a football game. This trauma can mostly be categorized into two different kinds of force, linear and rotational. Helmets do a great job of protecting against linear forces, or those which lead to skull fractures and focal bruising.

As stated in John Lloyd and Francis Conidi article entitled, “Comparison of Common Football Helmets in Preventing Concussion, Hemorrhage And Skull Fracture Using A Modified Drop Test” their study showed that skull fracture was reduced by 60-70 percent and focal bruising by 70-80 percent compared to not wearing a helmet.

On the other side of the spectrum there are traumatic brain injuries, which concussions are a mild form of. These injuries are often caused by rotational forces and are more diffused due to the bio-mechanics of the injury.

Their study also found that helmets, on average, only reduced the risk of concussion by 20 percent compared to not wearing a helmet.

At the end of the day, all sports involve some sort of risk but the more we know the better we can mitigate those risks.  Research continues to work towards finding a helmet that more effectively protects against brain injury.

In the meantime, safe tackling techniques and immediate removal from play should an injury occur are our best lines of defense.

The next line of defense is treatment starting after 2-3 days of rest.  If you find yourself or someone you know injured, find treatment as soon as possible from an athletic trainer or a physician trained in concussion management and if symptoms linger more than 2-3 weeks then contact us for further evaluation.

Source:

John Lloyd, Francis Conidi. “Comparison of Common Football Helmets in Preventing Concussion, Hemorrhage And Skull Fracture Using A Modified Drop Test. ” neurology.comNeurology April 8, 2014 vol. 82 no. 10 Supplement P5.320

 

What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

What to learn more on the basics of concussion symptoms and how your physical therapists can help relieve these prolonging concussion symptoms? Then check out Josiah Parker’s blog, 3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work! 

3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

Understanding Exertion Therapy

Concussion Treatment #1

The treatment of concussions has been widely debated over the past few years. What was previously known and proven with research about concussion treatment suggested that the patient must rest, both mentally and physically. This is indeed true for initial treatment of concussions. There has now been a shift with concussion treatment that suggests moderate amounts of exertion may be used to help treat those who suffer from lingering concussion symptoms.

If you read my earlier blog 3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussionsit may have stuck out to you that I used the term “exertion therapy.” You may have even thought to yourself, “is this guy insane?” People with concussions need rest. They don’t need to exert themselves!”  If this is what you thought, then you definitely aren’t alone.

As we all know, not all concussion injuries are the same. Sometimes people have symptoms months or years after sustaining an injury, this is called Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS). I will share a case study that comes to mind; he was a colleague of mine who played football and whom experienced long-term concussion symptoms.

football-official-standing

Case Study

He was a running back and had played football since he was eight years old. Throughout his career he suffered his fair share of hits and injuries and received two concussions before playing in college. On his last football game of his career he sustained his 3rd concussion, what a way to wrap up your collegiate career right?

This concussion was different than his previous injuries. He lost consciousness and had severe migraines for weeks, months and even years to follow. He had tried everything to relieve the pain. He had visited neurologists and multiple chiropractors. He had gotten mixed results and he never got rid of his migraines and overall neck stiffness. I reconnected with him years later and had heard his struggle. That was when I told him to come and get it checked out by a physical therapist. He was diagnosed with Post Concussion Syndrome.

Eighty percent of people who suffer a concussion are symptom free within 2-3 weeks of their injury. However, this means that 1 in 5 people make it past this 3-week time frame and continue to have symptoms.

 

Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) Symptoms

  1. Elevated heart rate – Tends to be high even at rest for those with PCS.
  2. Depression – Many people with PCS begin to feel some level of depression due to their decreased tolerance to activity. This can be especially true in an athlete who is used to a regular high level of activity.

Thinking back to the case study that I shared above, there are a few techniques that can be used to help address symptoms of PCS that can speed up recovery time.

Exercise is a great start, and that’s the basis of exertion therapy. Of course I am not suggesting that three weeks after a concussion you should go out for a 10 mile run and then that evening suffer from a throbbing headache.What I am suggesting is that your daily exercise routines should be monitored by a professional.

This is crucial so that your exercise does not negatively affect your concussion recovery. Sometimes it is hard to know if your workout negatively affects you without having someone monitor you, so let me help clarify what I can do for PCS patients.

PCS patients who are seeing me are taken through a graded exercise test, which helps me to find how high they can get their heart rate prior to their symptoms getting worse. I then use this information to help them develop a program they can use to get moving again.

If this situation describes you or someone you know then contact us today to get a more comprehensive evaluation!

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

Question: Do you have any questions about exertion therapy treatment for physical therapy?

Rehab Report – Tommy Armstrong Jr.

What do we take away from Nebraska Huskers Tommy Armstrong’s violent helmet-to-turf collision during the Nebraska Ohio State game? Listen to the Rehab Report on AMSPORTS590 as Travis Manners and the Omaha Sports Insider team discuss his injury and also breakdown the proper protocol for a concussion injury. 

Click below to listen now.

3 Unexpected Treatments for Concussions – That Work!

I often get asked about what I do for a living and when I respond that I am a physical therapist many people ask me what kind of injuries I see. My response usually begins with the orthopedic injuries, which everyone kind of already expects, but one area in particular that almost always catches people off guard is when I tell them that I treat concussions.

What can a physical therapist do for a concussion?

That is a great question! Let me share with you the basics on what a concussion actually is.

Concussions: A mild form of traumatic brain injury, which is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. These injuries may be classified as mild but the symptoms they cause can be devastating to the people who are experiencing them.

Symptoms: Dizziness, headaches, poor balance, trouble concentrating, depression from lack of participation ability. Surprisingly, the symptom most correlated with a lengthened recovery is dizziness. For more information on the basics of concussions visit www.concussionfocus.org.

Now that you understand the basics of a concussion, I promised that I would begin to reveal the three unexpected concussion treatments…and here they are!

  1. Exertion therapy is used to help get the body back to regulating its normal functions like heart rate, and also returning the patient back to sport or work.
  2. Finally, the musculoskeletal piece is used to help with neck or back pain, which often goes hand in hand with a concussion.
  3. Vestibular therapy is used to help address dizziness, headaches, and lack of balance.


In order to avoid getting too long winded, I will be breaking down each one of these three main areas in future blog posts. For now I know this is a very general overview so if you have any further questions feel free to contact me!

Written by, Josiah Parker – PT, DPT

Question:  What do you want to know about concussion therapy?

Football Concussion Crisis: How to Respond

 – Advice from a Physical Therapist to a Concerned Mother

I absolutely love this time of year – temperatures are not quite so warm, the trees will soon start changing colors, and most importantly football is back! But my love for this sport has lead to many, serious conversations about football injuries. There is a common theme among these conversations, concern.

As you probably guessed, concussions are the prevailing topic of concern. The frequency of these conversations has led to writing this blog post. What should you do if your child sustains a concussion?at

As a parent your first line of defense is an athletic trainer, if the team has access to this person.  Athletic trainers are extremely adept at dealing with these injuries and will likely take point in your child receiving any medical attention that is needed.  But what if you don’t have access to an athletic trainer? My goal is to educate those of you who don’t have access to an athletic trainer on what to look for and what to do.

Concussions can be difficult to diagnose due to the subjective nature of the symptoms. Your child may be suffering from a concussion if they report:

– a persistent or worsening headache
– feeling dizzy/nauseous
– mental fogginess
– or a range of other similar symptoms

If these symptoms are reported after a blow to the head, medical attention should be sought out as soon as possible through the child’s pediatrician or an emergency room.

The initial goal is to rule out more serious, life threatening conditions such as a brain bleed or skull fracture which can be identified through imaging (unlike a concussion.) Once those are ruled out the initial recommendations will be rest from physical and mental activity.

“80 – 90% percent of concussions resolve within three weeks – but for those that don’t, further medical attention may be needed.”

If further medical attention is required, start with a doctor who has had further training on how to deal with concussions.  There is a list of suggestions available on www.concussionfocus.org.  This physician may suggest modifications to activity, medication, or rehabilitation to help return to normal function.

Concussions can be a scary ordeal, both for the affected individual and their family, but with the proper treatment most kids are able to get back to football, and other desired activities.  If you are in need of rehabilitation, or need help figuring out where to start, contact us today!  You can also visit the Concussion Focus website listed above for more details on concussions and for resources on how to treat them.

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT, DPT

Question: What questions do you have for a physical therapist about concussions?

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.