Concussion Rehabilitation

A concussion is a disturbance in brain function that occurs following either a blow to the head or as a result of violent shaking of the head.

According to the Center of Disease Control, between 1.6 to 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur annually. Concussions are a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). 80% are seen in the emergency department. Mild traumatic brain injuries are a contributing factor to approximately 30% of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. and 75% of traumatic brain injuries each year are concussions.

Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome is a complex disorder in which various symptoms - such as headaches and dizziness - last for weeks and sometimes months after the injury that caused the concussion.
80% of concussed individuals will recover from concussion within 21 days. 20% will have prolonged recovery. 15% will suffer from deficits 1 year after injury.
Individuals with a prior history of migraine, depression, anxiety, mental health disorders, ADHD, and sleep disorders tend to have a longer recovery time and a higher rate of post-concussion syndrome.
Current research indicates that dizziness, immediately after a concussion, is an indicator for prolonged recovery.

Post-Concussion Rehabilitation Includes:

  • Concussion Symptom Management
  • Vestibular-Ocular Rehabilitation
  • Coordination Training
  • Speed and Agility Training
  • Visual Tracking Training
  • Resolution of Muscle and Joint Injuries
  • Headache and Migraine Treatment
  • Guidance with Return-to-School/Work Progression
  • Guidance with Return-to-Sport Progression

“Cave Therapy” is No Longer Recommended
Placing an individual on “complete rest” with no intervention can lead to increased anxiety, depression, headaches, and insomnia. Early intervention can assist to differentiate what is driving the symptoms and initiative effective strategies and treatment to promote healing. The “right” rest is imperative, and the “right” stimulation is healing.

Concussed individuals use many different words to describe dizziness including: lightheadedness, blurry vision, imbalance, weakness in legs, headache, vertigo, “feeling out of it,” “slowed down,” or “one step behind themselves.”
Dizziness following concussions can be driven from many areas including:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
  • Labrynthine Concussion
  • Perilymphatic Fistula
  • Post Traumatic Migraine
  • Brainstem Concussion
  • Ocular Motor Problems
  • Cervicogenic Dizziness
  • Autonomic/Orthostatic Hypotension
  • Persistant Postural-Perceptual Dizziness

2010 was a pivotal year for Jill and her dedication to keeping abreast of the Gold Standard with brain trauma. Dylan Steigers, a close friend of her children, died tragically from a fatal head injury sustained while playing football. Three months later Jill's daughter, Josilyn, suffered a stroke from an un-diagnosed arterial venous malformation. The Olson family was suddenly immersed into the healthcare system as consumers instead of producers and this experience broadened Jill's awareness of the needs of individuals and family members with brain trauma.

Jill, her son Kjel Olson, (HPE teacher at Anderson School in Bozeman), and her team at Peak Performance Physical Therapy, teamed up with the Steigers Family and launched The Dylan Steigers Concussion Project (DSCP), in 2010. This non-profit organization, with the mission to Educate, Test, and Protect, has played a key role in Western Montana's concussion management. They have provided ImPact baseline testing to over 4000 area athletes at low-cost or no cost, and they have helped manage over 350 concussions. The DSCP has provided numerous educational symposiums for area healthcare providers, teams, coaches and parents, and the DSCP has worked closely with other communities to replicate the concussion baseline testing and management programs in their respective communities.

Jill and her son, Kjel, are serving on the Governor's Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council. Jill's staff at Peak Performance Physical Therapy are highly skilled in concussion rehabilitation and are striving to attain the most comprehensive approach in achieving full, safe, and efficient return-to-school and return-to-sport programs. They employ advanced vestibular-ocular, dual tasking, manual therapy, exertion, balance training, and sensory integration into their rehab approach.