Concussion Basics: Assessment, Screening and Risk Factors

presented by Anne Mucha & Susan Whitney

Accreditation Check:

Concussion is an ongoing public health initiative, due to high prevalence and potentially serious long-term consequences that may arise from incomplete recovery and improper management. Concussion often results in a multitude of symptoms, deficits in cognitive function and impairment in the vestibular and visual systems. Effective management employs a multidisciplinary team approach in which these various deficits areas can be assessed and treated. This course will review the pathophysiology, epidemiology and biomechanics of concussion, along with pertinent information regarding diagnosis and negative outcomes following this injury. Current guidelines with respect to return to play will also be discussed. The course will finish with a case study example.

Meet Your Instructors

  • Anne Mucha, DPT, MS, NCS

    Anne Mucha, DPT, MS, NCS

    Anne Mucha is the Coordinator of Vestibular Rehabilitation for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Concussion Program and Centers for Rehab Services. She is a board certified clinical specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy with advanced certification in vestibular rehabilitation. With over 20 years in treating individuals with neurologic conditions, she is also actively involved in clinical research related to the evaluation and management of patients following concussion. Dr. Mucha was recently appointed a member of the CDC panel of experts to develop clinical guidelines for diagnosis and management of mild traumatic brain injury among children and adolescents. She received her Bachelor’s and Advanced Master’s degrees in Physical Therapy from the University of Pittsburgh; and her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Temple University. Dr. Mucha is a frequent national lecturer on topics related to concussion and serves as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.

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  • Susan Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA

    Susan Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA

    Susan L. Whitney, DPT, PhD, NCS, ATC, FAPTA received her PhD in motor development/motor learning from the University of Pittsburgh, her professional physical therapy education from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, and her DPT from MGH Institute of the Health Sciences. Currently, she is a professor in physical therapy in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. She is the Program Director of the Centers for Rehab Services (CRS) Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Whitney has authored or co-authored over 90 articles on Medline, most of which relate to vestibular rehabilitation, plus has co-authored a book related to dizziness and balance disorders.

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Concussion: Anatomy and Physiology of the Injury

    1. Concussion: Anatomy and Physiology of the Injury

    Dr. Whitney and Dr. Mucha describe the pathophysiology, biomechanics and epidemiology of concussion as well as the potential negative consequences arising from concussion. This chapter also discusses the latest information related to diagnostic testing and biomarkers for concussion.

  2. Evaluation of Concussion: Neurocognitive and other Clinical Assessment Tools

    2. Evaluation of Concussion: Neurocognitive and other Clinical Assessment Tools

    In this chapter, Dr. Whitney and Dr. Mucha describe how to recognize the positive and negative aspects of neurocognitive testing. The instructors demonstrate how to utilize solid “rules” about test properties in order to make an informed decision about a concussion self-report tool for the participant's practice. The participant will learn to effectively use these concussion self-report tools.

  3. Prognosis and Risk Factors for Recovery following Concussion

    3. Prognosis and Risk Factors for Recovery following Concussion

    Dr. Whitney and Dr. Mucha describe key constitutional risk factors associated with poorer outcome after a concussion. The participant will learn to recognize injury-specific and post injury risk factors that affect outcome following concussion. This chapter will also teach the participant to incorporate assessment of key risk factors into the physical therapy examination.

  4. Screening for Vestibular and Ocular Motor Dysfunction following Concussion

    4. Screening for Vestibular and Ocular Motor Dysfunction following Concussion

    In this chapter, Dr. Whitney and Dr. Mucha discuss the prevalence of vestibular and ocular motor deficits following concussion. They describe the effect of vestibular and ocular motor impairments on recovery following concussion. The participant will learn how to perform screenings for BPPV, balance and vestibular/ocular (VOMS) impairment.

  5. Patient Education Materials

    5. Patient Education Materials

    It's common to hear about concussions in sports, but the treatment for concussions has changed a lot in the past few years. With the right approach, most concussions can be healed like any other injury. Give these Patient Education Materials to your patients, their family members and/or coaches in order to explain concussion recognition and management strategies and ensure their proper recovery.