VCS-1: Diagnosis & Management of Concussions in the Athlete: An Evidence-Based Approach (Part 1 of the Vestibular Concussion Specialist Certification)

This 2-day (15-hour) course is Part 1 of the Vestibular Concussion Specialist Certification (Cert. VCS) offered only through the American Academy of Manipulative Therapy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, concussions are a complex pathophysiologic process induced by traumatic forces secondary to direct or indirect forces to the head that disrupts the function of the brain.  There are an estimated 1.7-3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussions each year resulting in a multibillion-dollar healthcare burden and a significant concern in the long-term health of our male and female athletes.  While most individuals recover fully from concussion within a few days or weeks, studies have demonstrated that anywhere from 15-20% of individuals who sustain a concussion have persistent symptoms, impairments, and limitations that affect daily function.  Concussions in sport have been described as an epidemic in health care and mismanagement of this injury have been the highlight of books and films, like League of Denial, Concussion and Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis.

Physical therapists, athletic trainers, or chiropractors with training in concussions can facilitate active rehabilitation and return to sport for athletes. PTs, ATs, and DCs serve as vital members in an interdisciplinary team approach for the management of individuals with concussions to eliminate associated disability. Post-concussion assessment, management, and skilled rehabilitation techniques fall within physical therapists’ scope of practice and should be performed by a clinician who specializes in this complex injury. This includes paced and graded aerobic exercise, vestibular and oculomotor interventions, manual therapy, and exercises targeting the cervical spine, in addition to balance training and return to sport activity progression.

This course will educate and arm physical therapists, athletic trainers, and chiropractors with the most up-to-date and evidence-based literature and practical clinical tools on the management of sports-related concussions.  It serves as Part 1 of the Vestibular Concussion Specialist Certification (VSC-1), but can be taken independently, without Part 2, for those not seeking certification. After completion of VCS-1 and VCS-2, course participants will be awarded the Vestibular Concussion Specialist Certification (Cert. VCS).

Course Objectives:

1. Recognize acute signs and symptoms of a concussion and associated red flags that require emergency action.
2. Understand sideline concussion assessments to make more informed recommendations for athlete return-to-play.
3. Perform a comprehensive and targeted clinical examination following a concussion and recognize concussion subtypes including cervicogenic, vestibulo-ocular and physiologic dysfunction.
4. Develop an athlete-specific plan of care with targeted and appropriately dosed rehabilitation techniques.
5. Be able to develop return-to-play strategies to safely progress the athlete using the most recent clinical guidelines.
6. Confidently explain the concussion process to athletes, family members, coaches and teachers.
7. Facilitate collaborative care with other medical providers involved in the patient care plan.

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