Specialty Program

Concussion Care

Specialty Program

Concussion Care

Specialty Program

Concussion Care

Specialty Program

Concussion Care

Specialty Program

Concussion Care

Baseline Testing:

We can help with baseline ImPACT® testing, post injury ImPACT® testing, and guiding an active recovery program to get you back in the game.

Concussion Care:

We can help with assessing concussions, guiding an active recovery program and providing baseline testing to get you back in the game.

When you have a concussion, rest is crucial – but so is taking an active approach to recovery. Our multidisciplinary approach to assessment and treatment is designed to help you recover as quickly and safely as possible. Every concussion is unique and we tailor our care to meet your needs.

Knowledge is important too, especially when it comes to prevention. That’s why we also offer a comprehensive program of educational and testing services to sports organizations and schools.

Did you know?

  • Concussions occur every 4 minutes in Canada.
  • Approximately 144,000 Canadians get a concussion each year.
  • The average age for a first concussion is 10.
  • The two leading causes of concussions/mTBI (mild traumatic brain injury) are falls and car accidents.

Concussion management

Our focus is on getting you back to school/work/physical activities. We’re here to prepare and educate you on effective concussion care through pre-season baseline testing, education and access to the right treatment should a concussion occur.

Concussions often go unrecognized or unreported – people tend to brush them off as just “a bump on the head.” But ignoring a concussion can lead to serious problems down the road; minimize your risk by reporting any symptoms as soon as an injury occurs.

Physical symptoms

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Noise sensitivity

Behavioral symptoms

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Cognitive symptoms

  • Slowed thought
  • Fogginess
  • Poor concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Sleep disturbed

When should I call 911?

If you experience any of these red flag symptoms, call 911 immediately.

  • Neck pain
  • Increased confusion or irritability
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Weakness in arms/legs
  • Tingling or burning in arms/legs
  • Deteriorating consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Unusual behaviour
  • Double vision

How long do symptoms last?

Concussion symptoms normally resolve in 7–14 days. However, if they persist, you should seek treatment from a healthcare professional with training in concussion management.

Baseline testing measures your brain function before an injury so you have a reference point for understanding how you function after a concussion

Many sports require players to undergo baseline testing in pre-season; it won’t keep you from getting a concussion, but it can identify red flags should a concussion occur and help track and manage the injury.

Lifemark provides testing for individual athletes and entire teams. We can help:

  • Guide and predict the recovery process
  • Keep you from going back to your activity too soon
  • Reduce the risk of subsequent concussions

What is ImPACT®?

ImPACT® (Immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing) is the gold standard of neurocognitive testing. It’s the most widely accepted and most scientifically validated computerized concussion evaluation system, and it’s used by most teams in the MLB, NHL, NFL, NASCAR and WWE plus thousands of schools and clinical centres.

Lifemark uses ImPACT® as a part of our baseline and post injury protocol. The test takes just 30 minutes and measures concentration, reaction time and concussion symptoms.

Getting assessed by a professional trained in concussion management is vital. We can help you address these concussion-related issues:

Neck

  • Joint dysfunction
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Dysfunctional proprioception
  • Poor posture

Visual

  • Blurred vision and difficulty focusing
  • Reading difficulties
  • Problems with depth perception
  • Light sensitivity
  • Motion sensitivity

Vestibular

  • Balance Problems
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Motion sensitivity

Autonomic nervous system

  • Increased heart rate at rest and with stress
  • Altered blood pressure response
  • Decreased cerebral blood flow

Cognitive Function

  • Memory
  • Attention/focus
  • Multi-tasking
  • Brain training
  • Mindfulness exercises

Sleep dysfunction

  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Difficult sleep or initiation or maintenance
  • Behavioural strategies include: Teach proper sleep, hygiene, relaxation therapies, sleep restrictions

How long does it take to recover?

Most people recover in 2–3 weeks. But you can’t rush it; going back to your usual activities too soon can actually make you susceptible to another concussion. However, if symptoms persist (especially if there’s a history of head injury or concussion), we can help with:

  • Cognitive work hardening
  • Manual therapy and soft tissue release
  • Balance exercises and canalith repositioning
  • Vision training
  • Incremental progression of exercise

We are committed to best practices and the application of scientific research in the development of new services. We put together a multi-disciplinary national concussion working group in 2012 to discuss all aspects of concussion management and to inform clinical practises throughout our company.

We have been providing training opportunities and mentorships since that time to expand our ability to provide the very best information in the prevention, management and treatment of concussions.

We now have over 130 clinicians trained in concussion management in 60+ clinics across Canada. Our rehab teams may include:

  • Physiotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Athletic Therapists
  • Massage Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Physicians
  • Chiropractors
  • Optometrists
  • Kinesiologists

Concussions can cause dizziness and imbalance, and addressing these symptoms during rehab is a crucial, yet often overlooked, part of recovery. But did you know that athletes are 4x more likely to return to their sport within eight weeks when their treatment plan includes manual therapy and vestibular rehabilitation? Talk to your health care professional if you’re feeling dizzy or off-balance after your injury.

Our services for schools and organizations include:

  • Concussion management plans for athletes
  • ImPACT® baseline concussion testing
  • ImPACT® post injury testing
  • Access to concussion treatment services
  • Free live concussion awareness webinars
  • Partnerships and collaborations
  • Concussion awareness video

Our activity- and age-specific webinars cover:

  • How to recognize a concussion
  • Recommendations for rest and active recovery
  • Minimizing and managing persistent symptoms
  • The importance of the return-to-play decisions
  • Baseline testing and concussion management

Contact us to arrange a free webinar for your school or organization.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a disturbance of brain function. The brain normally floats inside the skull, cushioned by spinal fluid. The skull protects it against trauma, but can’t absorb the full impact of a violent blow.

How do concussions happen?

When you experience an abrupt blow to the head, or even a rapid deceleration, it can make the brain bounce against the inner wall of the skull. This can cause torn blood vessels, damaged nerve fibres and bruising of the brain. This damage is not visible on an Xray or CT scan, making it very difficult to diagnose. Without adequate blood flow, the brain doesn’t get the oxygen and glucose it needs, which impacts brain activity and alters function.

But I didn’t lose consciousness. Does that mean I don’t have a concussion?

No. Less than 15% of people who have concussions actually lose consciousness. However, there is usually some noticeable change in mental status, like feeling dazed or confused after the incident.

Don’t my helmet and mouth guard protect me from concussion?

Yes, they both provide a certain amount of protection and are very important in reducing the risk of injury. However, they don’t protect you completely – you can still get a concussion even if you’re wearing a helmet.

Are women more at risk for concussion?

Yes. Females have a higher risk of sustaining a concussion, which may be due to their physical build and genetic makeup.

Are some people more susceptible to concussion?

Yes. People who have a learning disability such as ADD appear to be more at risk for a prolonged recovery. People with pre-existing vision problems and migraines may also be at increased risk.

What are the most common symptoms of a concussion?

Headaches, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

My doctor told me just to rest following my concussion, but I’ve heard others say you should exercise. Which is correct?

Physical and mental rest is vital right after you’ve sustained a concussion. However, if your symptoms haven’t resolved in a couple of weeks, go see a health care practitioner. Exercise can be an important part of recovery, but you should be carefully monitored and your exertion progressed by increments.

Can physiotherapy speed up my recovery?

Yes. Physiotherapy that addresses vestibular/balance function and underlying neck issues has been shown to help with recovery and allow a faster return to play. A physiotherapist can also develop an appropriate exercise and return to activity progression for you to follow.

I’ve been very emotional since my concussion. Is this related to my concussion?

Yes. Heightened emotional response following a concussion is normal – feelings of anxiety and depression are common. These symptoms typically resolve on their own, but if they persist, talk to your health care provider.

What are the stages of return-to-play and who came up with them?

Graduated return-to-play takes you from no activity to progressively more activity until you are fully able to participate safely in your sport. The stages were developed by a group of experts at an international commission on concussions; they’re often referred to as the Zurich Protocol.

When can I return to play?

When you’ve been cleared by a health care professional trained in concussion management. With an injury, your ability to assess your situation may be impaired, and increased activity can make symptoms worse.

Baseline testing

 

Why is baseline testing important?

The baseline test measures your brain before it is injured. In the event of an injury, we test you again and compare the two scores to determine severity, monitor recovery and make informed return-to-play decisions.

What does ImPACT® measure?

Computerized neurocognitive screening like ImPACT® can be done as a baseline measurement or following a suspected concussion. It measures learning and memory skills, your ability to concentrate and reaction time in problem solving.

How often should I have a baseline test?

Ages 10-18: We recommend a baseline test every two years.
Ages 19-59: We recommend a baseline test one time only.

A child’s brain is still developing, so baseline testing will need to be repeated every two years to accurately measure these changes.

Can I have a post-injury test without a baseline?

Yes. Even if you don’t have a baseline, we compare your results to baseline data for other people like you, which can be useful in judging progress as you recover.

Can’t I just take the baseline test at home or on my own?

We don’t recommend it; testing should be supervised by a professional. People who aren’t trained in concussion management should not make decisions about return to play.

Why do you use ImPACT® as part of your concussion management program?

ImPACT® has been scientifically validated over 15 years of research. In fact, as the most researched concussion management tool available, it is considered the gold standard by professional sports organizations such as the NFL, MLB, NHL and MLS.

What happens if I was given a baseline at your clinic, but a different clinic/hospital saw me after my concussion?

With your consent, we can to send your baseline results to whichever medical professional is working with you.