Get Your Head in the Game: A Concussion Discussion

Abstract

Concussions are occurring at a staggering rate throughout the sports population. There has been unlimited media coverage regarding this topic, yet there is limited research and understanding of this pathology. The goal of this literature review is to serve as a guiding tool for health care professionals who treat and care for the athletic population. This will lay an educational foundation on five crucial topics: definition of concussion, testing for concussions, proper return to play protocol, a physical therapistÍs (PT) role in concussion management, and prevention. ææLiterature regarding concussions is available and rapidly expanding, however evidence-based protocols and management techniques are lacking. æCurrently, guidelines for management of concussions and return to play are based on the clinical judgment of each individual practitioner. Research regarding PT interventions with patients post-concussion is extremely limited, which is partially due to the fact that concussion awareness and prevention is a topic that has only recently been gaining substantial amounts of attention worldwide. æResearch regarding concussion-preventing equipment such as helmets and mouth guards is also limited. Recently, companies are attempting to capture information about concussive-causing rotational forces and testing materials that could potentially reduce the forces of these hits. æAs awareness, research, and concern about concussions is increasing, so is PT involvement with patients post-concussion. Specialization in post-concussive management is a relatively new area, and since information on the evolution of the PT profession is valuable and not always sought out, this literature review will present several current events regarding physical therapy in concussion treatment.