Sports concussion treatment in Toronto is similar in many ways to treating any other concussion. However, depending on the sport and the level the athlete wants to return to, the following capabilities need to be restored to a higher level than for the average person:
- Dynamic Balance
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Neck and Core Stability
- Agility and Coordination
The commonly prescribed initial period of inactivity will lead to losses in all of these areas. In addition, the sports concussion itself is known to reduce fitness, balance, agility & coordination capacities. Inadequate preparation of these areas in a sports concussion treatment program can lead to re-flaring of an existing concussion or be the cause of a new concussion / other injury.
If you don’t identify a problem you can’t with deal it. Our Toronto sports concussion treatment programs starts with a thorough assessment of your problem areas. Beyond regular physiotherapy skills, Paul uses the following specialized evidence-based assessments tools:
- Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test (BCTT) – a subthreshold cardiovascular assessment tool.
- Reaction Time test, to identify likely problems with sports tasks which require higher speed and agility.
- Neck endurance, laser relocation and trace tests to identify neck strength, stability and proprioception deficits.
- VOMS test to identify vestibular and oculomotor insufficiencies which would cause problems in any sport.
At the appropriate time during Paul’s sports concussion treatment program, he will give you exercises to address the specific deficits found. At the same time, in preparation for return to sport, you will be directed to gradually become more and more active in the following ways:
- Progressive subthreshold cardiorespiratory workouts.
- Sport specific exercises.
- Non-contact training and agility drills.
Knowing when to Return to Sport
The psychological drive to return to sport can be intense. So much so, that the athlete may consciously or unconsciously under-report their symptoms. It is therefore important that the decision to return be made not just by reported symptoms, but based on objective signs of readiness too. Along with your doctor’s input, this takes the assessment skills of a trained health care professional such as Paul.
Once you have demonstrated adequate capacity, you will need to see your family doctor (or one of the sports doctors Paul works closely with) to get approval to do the following:
- Return to full contact practice, if applicable to your sport
- Return to your sport(s).
Return to School vs. Return to Sport
For students there is the added problem of knowing how and when to return to sport, while also trying to return to school. Like an adult’s job, school should be considered the student’s main priority. A general rule used by all informed clinicians is to get the student back to school fully before getting them back to sport. This does not mean that preparation for return to sport has to wait. Instead, the earlier stages of sport preparation can and need to be done at the same time as preparing and returning to school. In fact, these goals are quite complementary to one another.