Shift Concussion Management Program | Downtown Edmonton

We can no longer ignore the stupidity of the hits that are still happening today despite the fact that the players know the concussion aspect is such a big part of the game and sports in general.
—Jeremy Roenick

 What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of brain injury caused by a blow, “jolt” or bump to the head that temporarily changes the way your brain works—causing you to experience symptoms like headaches and dizziness. A concussion may also occur from a blow to the body that causes your head to jolt back-and-forth or side-to-side. A concussion may or may not involve a loss of consciousness. In fact, very few concussions actually result in loss of consciousness.

Concussions can produce a wide array of symptoms, which pose a challenge for coaches, trainers, parents and health professionals involved in the care of an injured athlete. The time-course for recovery also varies widely from athlete to athlete, making it impossible to employ a “cookie-cutter” approach to concussion rehabilitation and return-to-sport timelines.

Concussion signs and symptoms
  • Headache
  • Pressure in head
  • Neck pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Feeling slowed down or fatigue
  • Feeling like “being in a fog”
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering or confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Trouble falling asleep
  • More emotional
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Nervous or anxious
What to do

 Following a suspected concussion, it is recommended that you consult your Family or Sport Physician as early as possible for medical evaluation. Most sport-related concussions do not require emergency care.

It is important that you or your son/daughter remain under close observation over the first few hours following the injury. You should not be left alone or allowed to drive.

If any of the below urgent medical care symptoms are present you should go to the emergency room:

  • Headaches that worsen
  • Seizures
  • Severe neck pain
  • Grossly unusual behavior
  • Very drowsy, can’t be awakened
  • Can’t recognize people or places
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Significant irritability
  • Weakness/numbness in limbs
  • Less responsive than usual
  • Increasing confusion
Injury management

In addition to consulting your medical doctor, it is recommended that you book an appointment with one of our Integral trained providers for further assessment and management.

Management recommendations may include rest strategies, modified school and/or work requirements, specialized rehabilitative techniques (i.e. vestibular therapy), manual therapy or physical therapy and other recovery strategies.

Getting the proper physical and cognitive rest

In the early stages of a concussion, especially the first 48 to 72 hours, athletes not only require complete physical rest but also cognitive rest. Therefore, activities requiring attention and concentration may need to be modified or avoided altogether. These include schoolwork, video games, text messaging, computer games and so forth. As your symptoms improve, these activities can be slowly re-introduced and/or modified as needed. Our Integral trained provider will help devise a rest strategy specific to your needs.

Physical or cognitive exertion requires considerable energy to accomplish. Engaging in these tasks prematurely may cause symptoms to worsen and prolong recovery, which is why it is all the more important to observe the recommended rest periods.

The more energy a concussed individual spends on school tasks, work obligations or video games; the less energy there is available to help the brain repair itself.

Recovery Timeframes

Symptom duration and post injury recovery is highly individual and may be influenced by various factors such as previous concussions, severity of concussions and number of symptoms experienced.

Most concussions resolve within a short timeframe, but some may persist up to a month or longer. If your symptoms do not improve or linger beyond 3 weeks, make sure that a qualified healthcare provider assesses you. There may be an underlying problem that needs to be addressed or you may need to alter your current management strategy in some way.

It is normal to feel frustrated, sad or angry during your recovery because you cannot return to sports, recreational or academic activities right away. It is better to miss a few games, than an entire season.

What is baseline testing and why is it important?

Because concussions can be difficult to diagnose and test for, it is recommended that athletes obtain a baseline test before the start of the sport season. A baseline test gives health professionals a point of reference or “snap shot” of your pre-season cognitive and physical function so that if you sustain a concussion, the after-injury results can be compared to your baseline test. Having a baseline test helps health professionals more accurately gauge the severity of your concussion, objectively monitor your recovery and determine when it is safe for you to return to play.

What are the components of baseline test?

Shift uses a combination of several testing strategies to obtain a comprehensive picture of each athlete:

Neurocognitive Testing (ImPACT®)

Integral uses the ImPACT test as part of all baseline assessments. ImPACT is a computer-based test that takes about 30 minutes to complete. ImPACT measures things like memory, attention span, how quickly you process information and how quickly you respond to certain instructions or tasks. ImPACT is the most widely used and most scientifically validated computerized concussion test available.

Balance and postural stability

It is well established that balance and postural stability are often affected following a concussive injury. Every athlete is unique and with each season may be at a different level of physical development and athletic skill.

Visual Coordination Screening

The visual system is often significantly impacted by a concussion. In many cases visual acuity or overall clarity of vision is not affected but the ability of the eyes to work together in a coordinated fashion. Symptoms of visual dysfunction after a concussion may include eye pain, dizziness, focusing issues, difficulty reading and headache. Screening visual coordination skills at baseline aids health professionals in better identifying these issues after a concussion and recommending the right form of therapy.

For more information, visit Shift Concussion & Management website at:

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I would highly recommend Adam to anyone with any type of skeletal problems such as those I had exhibited. He is very thorough and very knowledgeable…and he gets results!!

Jade is the best! She kept me safe while recovering from a back injury and working full time. I found she was really great at adapting exercises and treatment to my pain level.

It is easy to see that Adam loves his job and genuinely wants to help his patients. He brings a sense of humor and a huge amount of knowledge to his work. I would recommend Adam to anyone looking for a great physiotherapist.

Jade in particular was an exemplary PT with an unprecedented aptitude for combining treatment with compassion. It’s rare to see someone so passionate and so dedicated to delivering exceptional care every single day. I would certainly recommend her services to newcomers because she explains the etiology of injuries well and works hard to facilitate recovery during sessions and offers good advice to work on after the session is complete.

Thank you Adam, you are the most educated professional I have ever worked with and without your help and teamwork, my members would not be able to sustain the quality of life that they deserve!

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