News & Events

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


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


Rehab Report – Maurice Watson Creighton Basketball

Listen to the Rehab Report with Travis Manners, Joe Quinn and Nick Handley from Omaha Sports Insider as they discuss Mo Watson’s ACL injury and the future for Creighton Basketball.  afternoon on the #RehabReport at 4:45 on AMSports590 – Omaha Sports Insider.

 

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.

Understanding Cupping: Ancient Chinese Technique

Some of you may remember last year during the coverage of the Rio Olympics there was a lot of hype surrounding these strange circular shaped marks on the shoulders and back of the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps.

These marks were made by a technique called cupping. It is an ancient form of Chinese medicine. This technique has again recently popped up in the news and today I thought it’d be a good time to answer some questions surrounding this technique.

Undeniably Phelps is a seemingly ageless beast in the pool, so why do he and many other professional athletes use the cupping technique and how does it work?  

Cupping is another tool in the toolbox that a physical therapist or a trained professional can use to help alleviate pain or speed up the recovery process. 

How does it work?

Cupping involves cups made of glass, bamboo, or plastic which are used to create suction over the skin. This suction draws up the skin, facia (connective tissue), blood vessels, etc in an attempt to mobilize the tissue, increase blood flow, stimulate the nervous system and decrease pain.  Cupping has been reported to help a plethora of conditions including pain, stroke and hypertension. 

In my review of the literature all of these uses have been poorly studied but the most well researched area was pain and there appears to be support to using cupping for treatment of musculoskeletal pain.

What to take away

At the end of the day, I think we all know that cupping is not what makes Phelps a great Olympian but clearly he believes cupping helps speed his muscle recovery between events. 

Personally I don’t believe the tool is the most important factor, it is the skill of the practitioner using the tool. Therefore my belief is that cupping is another tool in the toolbox for those looking for soft tissue mobilization and increasing blood flow to different areas. Other tools in this toolbox include instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, massage, and foam rolling.

If you have a condition you feel would benefit from some of the above tools, or if you have tried on your own and aren’t getting anywhere then set up an appointment today and add an expert to your team!

Written By: Josiah Parker, PT

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.