Every concussion, no matter how mild, is considered a traumatic brain injury. That’s because a sudden blow or violent jolt to the head can affect how your brain functions.
For many people, consulting with their primary care provider (and following their instructions) is all that’s needed to make a full recovery. But for others, the recovery process is more challenging—and requires specialized care.
You can get this specialized care from University of Iowa Health Care.
We’re home to a large team of sports medicine experts, rehabilitation specialists, and other providers with advanced training in complex sports-related concussion management. We routinely see children, teens, and adults from across the Midwest who need extra care and support to recover.
This includes people who:
Have long-term symptoms after a first-time concussion
Are having a hard time recovering after multiple concussions
Participate in school or professional sports, and need help creating a graduated return-to-play plan
Concussion symptoms can vary by person, depending on which areas of the brain were injured. But most people will have one or more of the following:
Balance problems or dizziness
Blurred or double vision
Brief loss of consciousness
Disorientation or confusion
Headache or a feeling of pressure in the head
Mood or personality changes
Nausea or vomiting
Sensitivity to light or noise
If you or your child took a blow to the head, see your regular provider as soon as possible or visit the nearest emergency room.
Most primary care and emergency room providers can diagnose a concussion with a physical and neurological exam. If necessary, they can also order tests to rule out serious complications (like a skull fracture or bleeding in the brain).
Signs you should seek advanced concussion care
With proper care, most concussions heal within one to three weeks. But for some people—especially those who have had more than one concussion—symptoms can last much longer.
If you’ve followed your provider’s care instructions but still have symptoms more than three weeks after your concussion, you should seek specialty care.
UI Health Care’s experienced concussion specialists can provide the care you need to overcome your symptoms and safely return to school, work, or play.
Concussion treatment from UI Health Care
Treatment for a standard concussion typically involves a lot of rest.
For example, you’ll need to take a break from any physical activity. It’s also important to temporarily avoid activities like watching TV, reading, or playing video games. These can trigger headaches or other symptoms.
Within several days or weeks, you should feel well enough to gradually add your normal activities back into your day.
However, if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, you may need more than just mental and physical rest. You may also need specific treatments that can reduce your symptoms and help your brain heal.
A team approach to complex concussion treatment
UI Health Care is one of the few medical centers in the Midwest that offers multispecialty concussion care for people with persistent symptoms. Instead of seeing a single provider, you’ll have access to several experts who can address your unique medical needs and personal goals.
Depending on your symptoms, your tailored treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
Our neuropsychologists use special tests to see how your concussion has affected your memory, mood, and thinking abilities. Your test results help determine whether you’d benefit from treatments such as cognitive rehabilitation or antidepressants.
Our physical therapists are trained to help people who have ongoing neck pain or headaches following a concussion.
Our sports medicine specialists and athletic trainers will get you up and moving again at a safe pace. We use tests such as the Buffalo Concussion Treadmill Test to assess your exercise tolerance. We’ll then help you build a customized workout program.
Some of our physical therapists are certified in vestibular rehabilitation. They can teach you special exercises to help improve balance problems or dizziness.
We treat vision problems caused by brain injuries that can’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Supporting patients near and far
Our services are available to people of all ages who live in and outside of Iowa. However, if you prefer to undergo some of your treatments closer to home, we’ll try and connect you with specialists or services in your own community.
And if you take part in competitive sports, we can coordinate with your team’s athletic trainer. We’ll make sure they have your most recent test results and recommended treatment protocols.