4 Physiotherapy Tips for Concussion
Sports-related concussions are a common type of sports injury usually caused by a hit to the head or torso leading to a short loss of normal brain function. Symptoms can include a headache or neck pain, nausea, dizziness, or tiredness.
If you or an athlete in your care suffers a concussion, a physiotherapist can work to help speed the healing process and create a safe return to play program. By following the Physio-4 for Sports-related Concussions, parents and coaches can be more aware of when a concussion has occurred and help to protect soccer or hockey players from getting or causing a concussion and keep moving for life. These tips can be adapted for other sports.
1. Monitor the Health of the Athlete
Before the first practice, assess the young athlete’s baseline brain function (memory skills, concentration), and then re-test during the season to help identify the effects of any injury. Know if the young athlete has had a prior concussion, if so have a physiotherapist help set up a program for a safe and prepared return to play. A great screening tool is the SCAT3.
2. Position and Protect the Head
To prevent giving or receiving a concussion, young hockey and soccer players must learn to protect their heads and avoid dangerous angles of contact. Hockey players should always approach the boards on an angle, and never check from behind. Soccer players should “head the ball” correctly, and keep a protective space around their bodies to avoid bumping heads and straining necks.
3. Ensure a Gradual Return to Play
If a young player does suffer a concussion it’s imperative that he/she does not return to play too soon; their brain needs time to heal. A physiotherapist can establish an individualized rehabilitation program that will help prevent the incidence of re-injury, guide the young athlete through the recovery process, and help determine when it is safe to return to play. The SCAT3 has a general return to play guideline that can help aid the timing of returning to sport.
4. Train Specifically for the Sport
Hockey specific off-ice training exercises will improve control of the neck, spine and pelvis, and will help with skating, puck skills and safe body contact to avoid concussion. Soccer players (especially girls who are prone to concussions) should include a neck-strengthening program as part of their conditioning. Younger players should not practice “heading the ball” until they are adequately trained in the proper technique.
Physiotherapists are the rehabilitation specialists recommended most by physicians. They are university-educated health professionals who work with patients of all ages to diagnose and treat virtually any mobility issue. Physiotherapists provide care for orthopedic issues such as sport and workplace injuries, as well as cardiorespiratory and neurological conditions. As Canada’s most physically active health professionals, BC’s physiotherapists know how to keep British Columbians moving for life.
The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians and those across the globe. Each month, on movingforlife.ca 4 tips are provided to treat specific health or physical conditions that will help keep you moving for life. BC’s physiotherapists want you to know that if you are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help. After all, they are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most.
Have you or someone you know suffered a concussion? Visit your physiotherapist or book an appointment with us at Synergy Physio to learn how to speed your recovery and avoid receiving or contributing to a future concussion.
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February – Knee injuries
March – Osteoporosis
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May - Tendinopathy (Tendinitis, Tendinosis)
June – Neurological Conditions
July – Sprains
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