Concussion Rehabilitation

At Bodycentral Physical Therapy, we believe in a Multidisciplinary team approach to the management of concussions. Our team of specialized Doctors of Physical Therapy work with your Physician and other health care providers, and with your Athletic Trainer to get you back to activity quickly and safely. Our Physical Therapists have extensive experience with Professional and Semi-Professional Sports. We are proud to provide physical therapy for concussion in Tucson. Part of our outreach programs include instructing coaches, parents, players and the Tucson community about the signs and symptoms of concussion. Concussions that go untreated can cause significant problems in an athlete if they were to sustain another concussion prior to the brain recovering. Our goals are to improve the level of concussion care in Tucson, and to educate the Tucson community on the proper treatment and progression of therapy for concussion. Treatment is available at our Cortaro Farms location- the Bodycentral Physical Therapy Sports & Concussion Center. Treatment and triage for concussion is also available at other Bodycentral Physical Therapy locations.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic injury to the brain. There is not a structural abnormality in the brain, and it can happen without loss of consciousness. Concussions can happen when two players collide, or when a player runs into an object like a soccer goal. Sometimes, the player can sustain an injury just by hitting the head on the ground. 

Signs/Symptoms of a Concussion

Players can have one sign or symptoms, or may present with a lot of them at once. The key is to stop activity if any of these happens.

  • Being confused– not knowing the score of the game, or how much time is left
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea
  • Feeling like they are “in a fog” or “out of it”
  • Throwing up/Vomiting
  • They may or may not lose consciousness (pass out)
  • Younger players may not even have symptoms for 24hours
  • Younger players may appear aggravated or grumpy

What if You are the Player? What Should You Do?

If you are the athlete and you experience any of these symptoms, you need to report it immediately to your parent and coach. If you have an athletic trainer or a team doctor- let them know immediately. Hiding the symptoms of a concussion is not a good idea. If you continue to play and are hit again, you could have serious brain injury or could even die. There is a condition called Second Impact Syndrome– It happens when an athlete with a concussion continues to play and is hit again. This multiplies the severity of symptoms and has been know to result in death. Concussion is a serious thing, so do yourself a favor and report symptoms!

A Special Note to Parents

It is important to seek medical advice if your child sustains a concussion. The Physical Therapists at Bodycentral Physical Therapy work closely with most of the concussion specialists in Tucson. If your child has be diagnosed with a concussion at Urgent Care or the Emergency room, make sure to follow up with a Physician specializing in the care of concussion. If you need a recommendation, we would be happy to share several recommendations with you.

 A Special Note for Coaches

It’s a tough day when your best player gets sidelined with a concussion. Years ago, we were told to shake it off and keep going…it’s no big deal. We have learned more and more about concussion and the risks associated with the injury. With what we know today, it is a risky move to keep kids playing when they have signs and symptoms of a concussion. Our goal as Physical Therapists is to get your player back as quickly and safely as possible, making sure all their symptoms have resolved at rest and with activity. This is a frustrating process at times for all involved. The best way to support your athlete is to stay in close communication with the athlete, parents and medical staff. At Bodycentral PT, we make an effort to keep open communications with everyone so the athlete gets the best care possible and the best and safest return to play.

 Did You Know?

Over the past 10 years concussion management has evolved significantly. We now know:

  • Total Rest until you are symptom free is no longer best practice
  • Concussions can happen even if you don’t get “knocked-out”
  • 80% of concussions will resolve in 3 weeks
  • There are now 6 different categories or “phenotypes” of concussion that we have identified
  • There are individualized ACTIVE treatments that exist (no longer rest until symptoms are gone)
  • Baseline testing can help determine when it is safe to return to sport
  • You can get individualized treatment based on what type of concussion you have suffered- that is specific to your needs

What can Physical Therapy do for a concussion?

  • Help determine specific activity restrictions – and activities that you Do Not need to restrict, based on Your symptoms specifically
  • Improve neck ROM, decrease neck and headache pain
  • Help restore balance and get you active again without symptoms
  • Help you to return to activity safely
  • Work closely with your Physician, Health care providers, and Athletic Trainer to optimize your recovery

You receive an individualized evaluation and treatment plan. Based on the findings, you may receive any or all of the following:

  • Hands-on Manual Therapy, Dry Needling
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation
  • Exertional Rehabilitation
  • Oculomotor Retraining
  • And more

Our Sports Clinical Specialists have lectured on Concussion for Tucson Unified School District, as well as for local organizations. Concussion treatment is available at several of our locations. Call 520-325-4002 for more information.