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, which is led by a physician medicine and rehabilitation physician who specializes in treating concussion symptoms. After a comprehensive evaluation by our physician, your team may include a neuropsychologist, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist and a speech therapist. Together, the team 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:
- Kyle Klitsch, D.O., Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician, Good Shepherd Physician Group
- Kimberly Kuchinski, M.D., M.P.H., Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician, Good Shepherd Pediatric Program (treats children in inpatient and outpatient settings)
An Optometrist with a specialization in neurorehabilitation:
- Debra A. Lehr, O.D, FAAO, Neuro Optometrist, Good Shepherd Physician Group
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
For more information on the Good Shepherd Concussion Program, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or request an appointment.