Sungod Sports + Orthopaedic Physiotherapy Clinics have another tool to use in their approach to comprehensive concussion care.
The clinics are now using an Impact test, a computerbased neuro-cognitive exam previously available only to high level athletes.
Clinical director Travis Wolsey says it's an added resource for doctors and local athletes.
"People want access to this kind of testing so it's being made available," he says.
While physiotherapy works on the rehab of muscles and joints, along with sense and balance, the Impact test shows how the brain is functioning, he explains.
"When you put those together then we have a better idea of how this person's healing and where it is appropriate to return back to sport," says Wolsey. "But ultimately it's the doctor's say. But here in physio we give the doctors that information so they can make a really good choice."
Physiotherapist Jen Jones describes the Impact exam as a 20-minute test that measures symptoms, verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time.
Awareness surrounding concussions, which are complex injuries that require a comprehensive and individualized approach, is rising, she notes.
Sungod takes a "multimodal" rehab approach. A physical exam looks at the neck and shoulder areas while a vestibular assessment could be conducted to look at inner-ear issues.
"If someone has neck issues or vestibular issues on top of a concussion - that's what makes things last for so long," says Wolsey.
"Most concussions resolve within seven to 10 days. But if you have these confounding instances they can last a lot longer."
He notes that, ideally, athletes would obtain a baseline test (to measure brain function) before suffering an injury.
"The data can then be compared to the pre-injury baseline as well as age norms."
Concussions are an unfortunate part of sport, he adds.
"But in becoming more effective in their management through proper identification, multimodal rehabilitation, we are hoping to make an impact on sport head injuries in our community."
Sungod, which works with athletes of all levels, including the Vancouver Giants, has locations in Ladner (Ladner Leisure Centre) and North Delta (Sungod Recreation Centre).
For more information, visit www.sungodphysio. com or call 604-946-1999 or 604-590-3100.