Concussion Management

A concussion occurs when there is a direct or indirect force to the head that causes a change in mental status. During a concussion, the brain is demanding more energy than it is receiving. Therefore, it can lead to symptoms such as disorientation, confusion and memory loss. This may also cause slowness in thinking.

Athletico Physical Therapy’s Concussion Management Program benefits individuals who have had a concussion, or participate in an activity where there is potential for a concussion. Athletico provides concussion management, return to participation and neurological baseline testing (ImPact) training to athletic trainers and physical therapists.

Patient/Athlete May Experience:

Please note: symptoms may not surface until 48 to 72 hours after the injury.

  • Headache or pressure in head
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred/double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering/loss of memory
  • Spots before eyes
  • Sensitivity to sound
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling “in a fog”

Physician, Athletic Trainer, or Neurological Specialist may diagnose:

  • Acute concussion
  • Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)
  • Post-concussion syndrome

Athletico Physical Therapy Options:

Return to Participation or ADL (Activities of Daily Living) Protocol*:

After sustaining a concussion, the following protocol, or a similar protocol, will be used to safely progress a patient’s or athlete’s return to participation and/or daily function. This should be performed under the supervision of a qualified medical provider. It is recommended that there be approximately 24 hours between each stage. Recovery time is different for each individual and there are a number of different factors that can affect the healing process, this is why it is important to be evaluated by a concussion trained health care provider.

Both patients and athletes will not return to participation the same day as a concussive event. Return to ADL or play will occur once the patient or athlete is symptom-free at rest, exertion, and has returned to their baseline state.

Stage Aim Activity Goal
1 No Activity Daily activities that do not provoke symptoms. Gradual re-introduction of work/school activities.
2 Light aerobic exercise Walking or stationary cycling at slow to medium pace.
No resistance training.
Increase heart rate
3 Sport-specific exercise Running or skating drills
No head impact activities.
Add movement
4 Non-contact training drills Harder training drills, eg, passing drills. May start progressive resistance training. Exercise, coordination, and increased thinking
5 Full contact practice Following medical clearance, participate in normal training activities. Restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff
6 Return to Sport Normal game play. Normal game play.

*This protocol is implemented to promote compliance with Return to Play Policies, which outline that athletes exhibiting symptoms of a concussion cannot return to play until cleared by an appropriate healthcare professional.

Please consult your state protocol or refer any questions to a concussion trained healthcare provider.

 At Home Recovery Tips:

  • Avoid loud noises (Music, TV, band practices or listening to a music device)
  • Limit texting, reading, video games, typing, or internet use.
  • Avoid any over-the-counter medications (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, Aleve) that may mask symptoms, unless advised otherwise by a physician.
  • If you’re a student: the school nurse, athletic director, administrator, and/or guidance counselor should be contacted to postpone any quizzes or exams that may be needed.

Concussion Resource Documents:

For more information take the Athletico Concussion Quiz or contact a Head Injury and Concussion Management Clinician by emailing

Find a Head Injury/Vestibular Therapist Near You!

Find an Athletico.