What is a concussion?

A concussion is a complex pathophysiologic process caused by traumatic forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head that disrupts the function of the brain.  CT and MRI scans are typically normal. A concussion results in a combination of physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or sleep-related symptoms and may or may not involve a loss of consciousness.

Concussions are also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, but all concussions are serious.  Resolution of concussions is usually 7-10 days in most people, but in some people it takes longer and they might need physiotherapy to help recover fully.

Post-concussion syndrome is when symptoms last more than 3 months.  This occurs in 30-80% of patients following a concussion.  In 20% of these patients, symptoms become persistent.

What can physiotherapy do to help?

A physiotherapist can take your through the Return to Play Protocol to determine that you are symptom-free before the doctor clears you to contact training.  The Return to Play Protocol has four stages before returning back to contact sport practice.  Stages include: 1) rest (24-48 hours), 2) light activity, 3) non-contact training drills, and 4) increase in training drills with some resistance.  Medical clearance by a doctor is required to return to contact training again.

Some people who have sustained a concussion have vestibular or visual tracking issues as well.  A trained physiotherapist can help retrain your vestibular and visual system to help you return to activity without symptoms.

Research shows that once a person sustains a concussion, they are at a greater risk for subsequent concussions, especially if full recovery is not achieved before return to sport.

If you or someone you know has had a concussion, please have them get checked out by a medical professional and take the proper steps to return to activity.

If you have any questions or would like to book in to see one of our physiotherapists, please do not hesitate to contact Get Active Physiotherapy on 1300 8 9 10 11 or email us at

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