Concussions are Real, and Physical Therapy can Help Recovery

It’s scary to think about your child athlete getting a concussion. Thanks to The Center for Physical Rehabilitation a child’s concussion doesn’t have to be on your worry list. Their skilled physical therapists and certified athletic trainers based in schools throughout West Michigan regularly help student athletes safely return to play

High Contact Sports are NOT the Only Cause of Concussions

Olivia Schultz, a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) in the High School setting through CPR, says that concussions are a regular occurrence in her field. 

Most people think concussions only happen with contact sports like hockey, football or soccer, but many other activities can cause concussions, too. Some of these include bumping heads on a trampoline or falling off a bike or swing set.

After sustaining any kind of concussion at school, CPR’s athletic trainers will assess your child and form a plan to return to activity. In many cases, patients will be referred to PT in a CPR clinic to get them safely back to activity.

Why Go To PT For Concussions?

Are you wondering “why Physical Therapy?” like I was?

In this video Olivia (Athletic Trainer) and Carolyn (Physical Therapist), explain reasons to follow up with a PT after a concussion and why it’s important to utilize athletic trainers before a concussion occurs:

Concussion Info with CPR

What is a concussion? Are they even a big deal? Now that school has started, you've probably found yourself signing forms related to concussions. Concussions are getting a lot more attention these days – this video with staff from The Center for Physical Rehabilitation explains why, what it means, and what to do if your kid sustains a concussion.PLUS – Tune in on Facebook for a LIVE concussion chat with medical professionals on Monday, September 24th, 2018 @ 7:00PM. RSVP –>>> https://www.facebook.com/events/297364094186894/

Posted by Grand Rapids Kids on Thursday, September 20, 2018

The egg experiment shows how wrapping a helmet around your head won’t lessen the severity of a concussion. This is why it’s so important to follow up with a physician after sustaining a concussion – no matter how minimal you think it may be.

Aspects PTs will asses and focus on:

  • Vision – Restore accurate focus; ensure eyes track smoothly.
  • Neck Issues – Assess if ortho treatment or further PT is necessary after a fall.
  • Balance and CoordinationAs balance improves, check head rotations and eye closes, and challenge cognitive abilities (by solving math problems and playing catch).
  • Habits – Assess the ability to tolerate screen time (phones/tablet games, computers, or watching TV).
  • MoodInform parents of symptoms. Athletes could be irritable, sleep excessively, or experience frustration.
  • Noise or Light Sensitivity – Address symptoms (blurred vision, difficulty reading/concentrating). 

How do you Know if Your Child has a Concussion?

In most cases, your school’s physical trainer will call you if your student athlete could have a concussion. Your athlete will be removed from practice to rest. You will be given symptoms to watch for at home and will discuss a plan to follow up with a physician and a referral to PT if needed. 

If you think your child may have sustained a concussion here are some symptoms to watch for:

Concussion Symptoms

  • Noise or light sensitivity
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty focusing or concentrating on schoolwork
  • Excessive sleeping

Concussion Forms and Tests Are Vital For Both Pre and Post Injury

Why do I need to keep filling out concussion acknowledgement forms?!

A concussion form and is required for all students – not just athletes. By signing this form, parents and students acknowledge they understand what a concussion is and its symptoms.

What to Expect When Working with CPR Trainers and Concussion Forms

At CPR’s area partner schools, student athletes take a computer baseline concussion test every two years. ImPACT assesses cognitive function before an injury occurs. Areas of this test include reaction time/speed and memory recall. After a concussion occurs, another test will be performed by your athletic trainer. The results will compare changes in cognitive function after a concussion.

When Can My Student Athlete Get Back in the Game?

Symptom FREE is key when it comes to getting kids back to play.

Your athlete can return to sports when they are symptom free and have completed the “return to play” protocol mandated by the MHSAA (Michigan high school athletic association). 

The 5-Day “Return to Play” Protocol

*Students can only complete 1 step in 1 day, making it a 5 day protocol.

Step 1: Light aerobic activity

Step 2: Moderate activity

Step 3: Heavy non-contact activity

Step 4: Full contact practice

Step 5: Return to competition: This requires the athlete be 24 hrs symptom free.

Athletes are cleared to play once the above protocols are met, and parents and athlete have met with the athlete’s physician.

Where to Find a CPR Athletic Trainer and Return To Play Program After A Concussion

CPR takes a comprehensive approach to getting kids back to play after a concussion and have made it easy and accessible for student athletes to connect with their athletic trainers.

The Center for Physical Rehab has trainers across West Michigan in various schools. Call today to find out if your child has a CPR athletic trainer available in their school or how to connect with a trainer in CPR’s facilities across West Michigan.

CPR wants to help you return to play safely and Move Forward!

Locations in Downtown GR, Cascade, Wyoming, Belmont and Walker

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | (616) 954-0950

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About the Author:

Carla Brooks
Carla is an Oregon born, Michigan raised photographer, runner, mom of two awesome boys, and wife to poet Sareem Poems. Carla enjoys adventuring, playing the piano and singing, trying different foods, reading or watching a good story, and most of all spending time with her family.

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