Cardiovascular Deficits After a Concussion and What That Means for Return to Play

 

If you ask someone what the signs and symptoms of a concussion are they may say they have complaints of a headache, nausea, dizziness, blurry vision, balance difficulties or short term memory issues. Did you know, it is common for someone with post-concussion syndrome to have deficits with their cardiovascular system, which causes poor activity tolerance? Some of these deficits include altered CO2 sensitivity, low heart rate variability, and altered blood flow to the brain. When they try to participate in physical activity that increases their heart rate it may lead to increased reports of headache, difficulty concentrating, fogginess, and nausea. Someone with poor activity tolerance has an increase in symptoms due to their altered cardiovascular system.

A physical therapist is someone who can diagnose and treat a concussed athlete with poor activity tolerance from these cardiovascular deficits. By using the Balke Treadmill test and tracking symptoms and vital signs, a physical therapist is able to appropriately prescribe an aerobic conditioning program to help get an athlete back to the field quicker.

Make sure after a concussion a physical therapist is ensuring the cardiovascular system is ready for return to play. We are the movement specialists!

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