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What is a concussion?

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that may occur as a result of a direct blow to the head, face or neck. The impact causes a complex chemical reaction in the brain, disrupting normal functioning.   An individual may experience a concussion without losing consciousness.

What are the symptoms of a concussion?

Concussions can cause symptoms that last hours, days, weeks or months. The most commonly reported symptoms include: headache, nausea, feeling slower, having difficulty concentrating, dizziness, fogginess, fatigue, light and sound sensitivity, memory problems, irritability and depression.

What are the most common causes of a concussion?

Many high-profile concussions cases are from sports injuries, but some of the other most common causes are motor vehicle accidents, falls and assaults. Good Shepherd specializes in treating athletes and non-athletes who have sustained a concussion.

How are concussions diagnosed?

Because the changes from a concussion are metabolic rather than structural, CT scans and MRIs do not reflect the impairment and typically turn up normal. In fact, symptoms of a concussion – fatigue, nausea, difficulty concentrating, emotional changes – may not be linked immediately to concussion. Consequently, if you have suffered a concussion, it is important to have a thorough evaluation. In addition to providing interdisciplinary team evaluations and treatment of post concussion symptoms, Good Shepherd is credentialed to utilize ImPACTTM (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), the most widely used computerized concussion evaluation tool. ImPACT assesses cognitive functions commonly affected by a concussion, including verbal and visual short-term memory, visual motor speed and reaction time in order to manage recovery.

How are concussions treated?

Good Shepherd provides an interdisciplinary team approach to treat post concussion symptoms. Your team, which may include a rehabilitation physician, a neuropsychologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist, will design a specific treatment program to address your symptoms. Our goal is to help you recover as quickly as possible and return to your normal level of activity.

What is the recovery time from a concussion?

The recovery time from a concussion varies per individual – days, weeks, months. Factors that can affect recovery include age, history of previous concussions, general medical conditions and a history of learning problems.

It is important that the individual be symptom-free before beginning a gradual return to physical exertion.  Returning to physical activity too soon can result in prolonged symptoms and may increase the chances of second impact syndrome, which occurs when an unrecovered, concussed brain suffers another injury causing severe neurologic impairment and possibly death.   Your team will also assist with school and work re-entry and will recommend accommodations to help with the process.

The Good Shepherd Advantage for Concussion Evaluation and Treatment

Staff with expertise in evaluating and treating concussion

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physicians, including:

  • Deborah Kimmel, M.D., Medical Director, Good Shepherd Brain Injury Program (treats adults in inpatient and outpatient settings)
  • Kimberly Kuchinski, M.D., M.P.H., Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician, Good Shepherd Pediatric Program (treats children in inpatient and outpatient settings) 

Clinical Neuropsychologists are licensed psychologists with expertise in brain/behavior relationships.

  • Martin J.  Diorio, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist, Good Shepherd Brain Injury Program, Credentialed ImPACT Consultant
  • Luke J. Ciaccio, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist, Good Shepherd Brain Injury Program, Credentialed ImPACT Consultant
  • Elona Suli-Moci, Ph.D., Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist, Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit, Credentialed ImPACT Consultant 

The area’s largest number of brain-injury certified physical, occupational and speech therapists

ImPACTTM,  a computerized testing instrument to establish cognitive baselines and post concussion symptom to  manage the recovery process. ImPACT is available to student and adult athletes, weekend warriors and non-athletes of all ages. For more information on ImPACT or to set up an evaluation, call 610-776-3214

Vision Therapy Program: Good Shepherd’s Vision Therapy Program is for older teens and adults who suffer from vision-related problems caused by neurological disorders or injuries such as a concussion. Good Shepherd’s vision therapists specialize in evaluating and treating problems associated with: muscle function, the ability of the eyes to work together, field of vision, difficulty reading, remembering and learning,  balance and  navigating environments.

Headache Management: Good Shepherd offers a team approach to managing headaches from concussions. Headache treatment includes advanced therapy supported by evidence-based protocols to reduce pain.

BrainSTEPS Program: Good Shepherd participates in the BrainSTEPS Program, a joint initiative of the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The program ushers children back to school after brain injury. Learn more about the BrainSTEPS Program.

Post-concussion services for children and adults, athletes, non-athletes and students, including:

  • Medical, neuropsychological, cognitive, physical, occupational, speech, vision and vestibular therapy available at these Good Shepherd sites:

Neurorehabilitation Program
Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 3rd floor
850 S. Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18103
610-776-3247, option 2

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
Good Shepherd Health & Technology Center, 1st floor
850 S. Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18103

Good Shepherd Outpatient Pediatrics
Health & Technology Center
850 S. Fifth Street
Allentown, PA 18103

Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital Pediatric Unit
2855 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017

For more information on the Good Shepherd Concussion Program, contact us, call 610-776-3214 or Request an Appointment.