Currently, the popular approach to post-concussion management of the athlete relies upon the use of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare providers, all typically coordinated by a physician. That core team is often supplemented by nurses, psychotherapists, coaches, teachers, the athletic director, and, of course, family members. However, access to such a model is frequently limited by financial, geographical, and numerous other factors. In the absence of such resources, a thorough clinical evaluation and management by an available, ongoing healthcare provider, quite often the sports physical therapist, becomes necessary.
The authors recommend that the professional who coordinates the athlete's post-concussion healthcare should focus efforts upon a comprehensive assessment and tailored treatment plan specific to the athlete's post-concussive symptoms. Assessment of both pre-morbid function and post-injury physical, cognitive, psychosocial, emotional, and behavioral issues, including the patient's support system, can assist the clinician with identifying specific constraints to sport, academic, social, and vocational activity participation. Hence, the assessment provides structure to the athlete's individualized treatment plan. Successful specialized interventions that address the multi-faceted impairments of sport related concussion frequently require knowledge of resources in a variety of other healthcare professions, in order to facilitate appropriate and necessary treatment referrals.
Initial assessment should be followed by repeat monitoring throughout treatment, and spanning a variety of environments, in order to ensure the athlete's full recovery prior to return, not only to sport participation, but also to involvement in social, academic, and/or employment related life activities.
Level of Evidence: