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Pediatric Concussion

Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital Pediatric Concussion Program offers a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach to children (5 years and up) and young adults (through college age) who have sustained a concussion. The concussion team is overseen by a pediatric neurosurgery physician and consists of an advanced practice provider (APP), nurse coordinator and physical therapist. Social work consultation and an on-site neuropsychological screening are available when appropriate. If additional resources are recommended, we collaborate and refer to neuro-ophthalmology, ophthalmology, neurology and diagnostic imaging. 

During a typical evaluation at the Pediatric Concussion Program the following will occur:

  • A thorough history of the inciting injury, as well as a past medical history will be taken by the advanced practice provider.
  • A thorough neurological exam to assess motor skills, vision and mental status.
  • A complete physical therapy evaluation.
  • Recommendations for home, school, sports and clubs will be provided and printed out for the patient and family, as well as for the school or sports team.

Our nurse coordinator will coordinate care as needed and is available by phone to address any questions or concerns that may arise. The nurse coordinator will come in at the end of an appointment to help summarize the visit and review any recommendations being made. The coordinator is the liaison between the advanced practice provider and child’s family.

Concussion can affect several systems including vestibular (balance), musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory and oculomotor (eyes). An experienced physical therapist is present to evaluate and provide treatment when needed.

Physical therapy evaluation/treatment may include:

  • Musculoskeletal: neck pain and symptoms
  • Oculomotor: eye movements and strength
  • Vestibular/Balance evaluation using standardized testing and state-of-the-art equipment
  • Standardized Cardiorespiratory Endurance testing
  • Return to play evaluation and physician clearance

Concussion related goals with physical therapy:

  • Reduction of concussive symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and blurred vision
  • Reduction of neck pain
  • Neuro retraining of proper eye movements
  • Restore proper balance
  • Strength/endurance training
  • Education on safe return to play