1 in 5 athletes will suffer a concussion over the course of their season. In the USA alone it is estimated that there are up to 3.8 million concussions per year. In Ontario reports indicate that 42% of all concussions reported in hospital emergency rooms are school related. Looking at numbers such as these, it was obvious to us at SSP that there was a need for our clinicians to be able to manage these injuries efficiently.
As a result, both Gayathri and Ryan have been busy over the past few months becoming certified Complete Concussion Management Institute (CCMI) practitioners. The intensive online module (which takes about 2 months to complete) is perhaps the most comprehensive concussion management system of its kind. Having now taken several concussion-management courses, Ryan certainly feels that the evidence-based assessment and treatment protocols in the CCMI course are the most complete of any course that he has taken. CCMI is innovative in their contribution to ongoing research, as well as with their App which allows for seamless communication between therapist, coach, athlete etc. Up to date information and ongoing education are essential to maintaining a high standard of care, and are fundamental to the philosophies of both CCMI and South Simcoe Physiotherapy.
One aspect of the CCMI program is “pre-season” or “baseline” testing. South Simcoe Physiotherapy is happy to now be offering this type of testing to the surrounding community. Baseline testing allows us to measure many aspects of both cognitive and athletic performance to establish your “normal”. If an athlete were to suffer a suspected concussion, having this normal baseline information helps to guide us in decisions as to whether a concussion has taken place, and if one has, whether or not an athlete can safely return to play. Comprehensive return to sport testing (beyond baseline testing) is also utilized and available at SSP to ensure that athletes return when appropriate. The absence of symptoms is not an accurate indicator of readiness, so it is vital that athletes (and parents of athletes) ensure that their care is in the hands of a qualified practitioner.
Now having multiple practitioners certified in concussion management, South Simcoe Physio is prepared to see patients in a timely manner following injury. One important prognostic indicator in successful recovery from a concussion is the time from injury to assessment by a qualified practitioner. Therefore, in order to prevent symptoms from becoming persistent, it is imperative for the injured not to simply wait for symptoms to resolve. The days of sitting in a dark room are long since gone and this thinking has actually been shown to be detrimental to recovery. A qualified CCMI practitioner can guide patients on appropriate physical exercise, cognitive and vision exercises, neck treatments, nutritional suggestions, balance rehab and much more. Early and appropriate exercise and specific education can further reduce recovery time.
For those suffering from persistent concussion symptoms, the one-on-one manual therapy and acupuncture/IMS training is an excellent complement to the extensive training provided in the CCMI modules. There is no “one size fits all” approach to concussion rehabilitation, therefore it is important to seek out a therapist that has a diverse skill set. One commonly overlooked contributor to persistent concussion symptoms is the cervical spine; acupuncture and targeted manual therapy are often critical tools to help address these dysfunctions. Similarly, dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system (or dysautonomia) can be another common cause of these symptoms which can be retrained when in the hands of a qualified practitioner. Only a thorough assessment by a qualified practitioner can reveal these dysfunctions, and once revealed proper treatment can be prescribed.
Our team is extremely excited to be offering CCMI concussion services. If you (or someone that you know) has suffered a concussion, remember that research indicates that the sooner you are seen by a qualified practitioner, the sooner your symptoms will resolve. Also, if you are an athlete and want to be able to detect a concussion and safely return to sport, contact us about pre-season testing.