PROVIDENCE, RI –The critically acclaimed film Concussion has brought the subject of concussion into a new light for athletes across the United States. In the public health exposé, Will Smith portrays a Nigerian forensic pathologist who tried to articulate to the National Football League his findings in the brains of 4 deceased, professional football players.
With concussion awareness showcased in the box office and being publicized throughout sports media ahead of the NFL’s biggest game, the Super Bowl one Rhode Island based physical therapy company is tackling post-concussion treatment head-on. Performance Physical Therapy employs physical therapists specializing in post-concussion treatment that can evaluate and treat this type of traumatic brain injury.
But even with concussions being in the limelight there is still a huge need to educate the community and it’s up to athletes, coaches and parents to recognize the injury’s signs and symptoms and to immediately pursue an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan including the physical therapy guided return-to-play protocol. Contrary to popular belief, MRIs and CT scans do not detect brain abnormality, even in patients exhibiting concussion symptoms.
A physical therapist begins with a full evaluation and a thorough patient history. “We perform examinations to recognize the signs and symptoms of concussion such as headaches, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, and dizziness,” explains Kara Chace, DPT, partner and clinic director at Performance Physical Therapy’s Riverside office.
Performance Physical Therapy tailors the program to meet individual needs and safely reintegrate the patients into their sports. Chace, who holds a bachelor’s degree in athletic training, often combines the skills she gathered as a licensed athletic trainer with her clinical expertise when evaluating a concussion patient.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, reported concussion rates have increased at all levels of sports participation during the last few years. Improved diagnostic strategies and increased disclosure by student athletes contribute, in part, to this phenomenon.
“The role of physical therapy plays a very important role in getting the concussed athlete back to play, safely,” states Dr. Neha Raukar assistant professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Sports Medicine for the Lifespan Hospital Network. Dr. Raukar suggests parents initiate open dialogue with their children to build awareness of the signs and symptoms of concussion. Young athletes in particular need to understand the long-term consequences of a concussion so they learn to speak up when exhibiting signs of an injury.
Although concussions can occur in any sport, the high school sports with the highest concussion rates include boys’ football and ice hockey and girls’ soccer and lacrosse. “Those who participate in sports, especially high impact sports, need to be educated and coached on the consequences of risky behaviors like illegal hitting and checks into the board,” Chace observes. “The most importance thing is for parents to be more aware of concussion signs and symptoms so they can recognize them in their children, get the appropriate treatment, and protect them from further injury,” Chace shares.
About Performance Physical Therapy
Performance Physical Therapy is a physical therapist-owned physical therapy practice demonstrating best-in-industry methods to achieve movement without pain. Our patients value the non-invasive, evidence-based treatment we provide. With eight clinics throughout Rhode Island, Performance employs more board certified Physical Therapists than any other practice in the state. We specialize in spinal, orthopedic and post-surgical conditions, as well as sports injuries. Additional programs include women’s health, dry needling, occupational health, hand therapy, athletic training, arthritis, balance disorders, aquatics and fitness and prevention programs. Please see our website at www.performanceptri.com or call 401.726.7100.