The decision behind returning to daily activity after concussion, whether that be returning to school, work or sport, is one of the most difficult decisions a clinician has to make. Here at SHIFT we have one thing in mind: safety. For this reason, exertion testing has an important role in evaluating symptoms prior to returning to daily activity, particularly sport.
One of the most unique aspects of our concussion management program is our exertional testing. Exertion testing is the last phase of your treatment plan, and is designed to test your physical limits to ensure that you will be able to meet the demands of your sport (or other activities in your life). It also ensures that your symptoms won’t relapse when your body is put under added physical and cognitive stress.
Typically, exertion starts by elevating your heart rate under close monitoring through cardiovascular activity. Following this, we will choose exercises that incorporate a variety of functional tasks that best mimic your real-life demands and also stress areas of functioning that at one time made you symptomatic. These movements will be specific to each patient. For our athletes, this portion of the testing will be heavily reliant on sport specific movements to ensure you are ready for return to play. These movements will involve agility, balance, coordination and reaction time just to name a few.
Typically, as long as symptoms do not arise during testing, or for 24 hours following, and all other clinical assessment measures are normal, you will be discharged from the program. Athletes returning to sport must obtain clearance from their Physician first. Your Shift provider will communicate your testing results with your Physician.