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Concussion: Physical Therapy and Medical Management

presented by Anne Mucha and Susan Whitney

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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According to the CDC, up to 3.8 million concussions occur annually in the United States. Approximately 20% of these injuries may not recover quickly and cause significant disruption to the performance of work, school and life roles. Concussion has recently been described as a heterogeneous injury, which can result in a multitude of symptoms, with potential impairment involving the cognitive, vestibular, visual and cervical spine systems. Due to the complex nature of concussion, proper management requires a multidisciplinary approach. This course will discuss a proposed model for classification following concussion. Presenting characteristics of the six concussion subtypes, along with discussion of potential management strategies for each is detailed. Considerations for return to physical activity are reviewed. Additionally, the role of medical management in the control of symptoms and reduction of morbidity following concussion will be discussed. Pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological intervention will be described.

Meet Your Instructors

Anne Mucha, DPT, MS, NCS

Anne Mucha is the Coordinator of Vestibular Rehabilitation for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Concussion Program and Centers for Rehab Services. She is a board certified clinical specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy with advanced certification in vestibular rehabilitation. With over 20 years in treating individuals with neurologic conditions, she is also actively involved…

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Susan Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA

Susan L. Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA received her PhD in motor development/motor learning from the University of Pittsburgh, her professional physical therapy education from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and her DPT from MGH Institute of the Health Sciences. Currently, she is a professor in physical therapy in the School of Health and…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Concussion Subtype

In this chapter, Dr. Mucha and Dr. Whitney describe common clinical subtypes following concussion. They teach the participant to recognize presenting symptoms associated with each clinical subtype. The participant will learn to identify potential management strategies for each clinical subtype.

2. Medication Prescription Following Concussion

The participant will learn to recognize when medication may be helpful to enhance recovery. The participant will gain an appreciation for the commonly provided medications for children and adults post-concussion. Dr. Mucha and Dr. Whitney demonstrate how to recognize possible side effects of commonly used medications in concussion management.

3. Alternative Interventions in Concussion Management: Is there a Role?

In this chapter, the participant will become familiar with the latest findings related to alternative therapies, including hyperbaric oxygen, supplements, and other interventions.

4. Exertion Considerations After Concussion

Dr. Mucha and Dr. Whitney discuss how to differentiate between the latest recommendations about exertion and Return to Play Guidelines from the International Consensus Conference on Concussion. The participant will learn to design an exertional program for a person with a concussion based on their presenting signs and symptoms. The participant will gain an appreciate of how neurocognitive testing can assist the physical therapist in helping to make decisions about return to play.

5. Case Studies

In this chapter, Dr. Mucha and Dr. Whitney discuss two advanced concussion cases. In the first case, they discuss the case of a 20-year-old cornerback for semi-pro football team. The case will discuss the player's return to play with physical exertion considerations discussed. The second case will discuss the management of a 19-year-old female Division 1 hockey player who is complaining of a constant headache since a concussion 6 months earlier. The player has no previous concussions, but a history of migraines. In this chapter, the online learner will learn how to assess and treat more advanced concussion cases.

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