Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center Seminar
“Serious concussions are on the rise, but so are advances in their treatment.” – Concussion Event at the Dr Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center
On Sunday, October 4, thanks in part to a Patriots’ bye week, I (Julia) had the opportunity to attend a concussion event at the Dr. Robert C. Cantu Concussion Center in Concord, MA. Joining me from CANRecover were co-founder, Aaron Rocha, and board member, Michael Mozill. The event gave us the chance to hear tips for concussion prevention, learn about recent advances in concussion treatment, and watch demonstrations of two machines (the Vasper and the Dynavision) that can be used as part of concussion treatment programs at the Center.
Some of my biggest takeaways from the presentations were:
- The importance of neck strength. Recent studies have shown neck strength to be an important factor in reducing the risk of concussions. Athletes with weaker overall neck strength are at a higher risk for concussion, and could benefit from a targeted exercise program to improve their neck and core strength
- The value of comprehensive baseline assessments. Concussions can lead to impairments in cognitive function, visual function, and balance, and the most useful baseline assessments cover each of those dimensions. Baseline assessments performed at the Cantu Concussion Center include four parts:
- The ImPACT test to assess cognitive skills such as memory, concentration, attention, and multi-tasking
- The King Devick test to assess visual tracking and eye movements
- The Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) test to evaluate balance in a variety of standing positions
- A neck strength evaluation to assess neck strength and determine where improvements could be made to help reduce the risk of injury
- The value of a multidisciplinary team in the treatment of concussions. Every concussion is unique, and ideal concussion management is a team effort. Depending on the person and the injury, the team may include parents, coaches, teachers, and multiple healthcare providers, such as, athletic trainers, nurses, doctors, neurologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors.
After the presentations, all attendees were invited to attend breakout sessions on the Vasper and Dynavision machines. The Vasper machine is used in some concussion treatment programs to help patients get the benefits of intense exercise earlier in their recovery than they might otherwise be able to tolerate. The Dynavision machine (seen here being used by Aaron Rocha), helps train visual acuity and cognitive processing, and helps improve reaction times.
To learn more about the Cantu Concussion Center, visit their website.