Introduction to Physical Therapy Evaluation and Treatment of Concussion

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Approved through the FSBPT/ProCert for PTs/PTAs

An introduction to the assessment, evaluation and treatment of patients suffering from concussion

Author: Elizabeth Winston, PT, DPT, NCS


Course Description:

This online course will provide an introductory look at the evaluation and treatment of patients with concussion.  The diagnosis of concussion is becoming more prevalent with both the increase in sports’ intensity as well as the increase in knowledge of concussion diagnosis. As a physical therapist it is likely that you will see more and more concussions, especially in the young athletic population. This course will help to identify concussion, understand the interdisciplinary approach to concussion and give a basic outline of what to evaluate, what to expect to see and how to begin treatment of those with concussion. Additionally, this course will give some key educational and prognostic points to enhance the clinician’s overall plan for course of treatment.


Learning Objectives:

At the completion of this program the participant will be able to:


  • Define at least 1 one of each: concussion sign, symptom, risk factor
  • Describe 2 elements of neuroanatomy and 2 elements of physiology pertaining to concussion
  • Identify the minimum length of time symptoms present for adults and adolescents/children that define PCS (post concussion syndrome)
  • List 3 possible interventions that can be utilized for the treatment of cervicogenic dizziness
  • Indicate two reasons to include physical therapy in concussion management
  • List two evaluation techniques for a patient with concussion, vestibular impairment, or balance impairment
  • List two treatment examples for concussion management in physical therapy


Course Outline:

  • Introduction
    • Concussion statistics
    • Physiology
    • View of multiple systems affected by concussion
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS)
    • Definition and Diagnoses
    • Risk factor overview
    • Risk factors specific to
      • Vestibular Occular
      • Anxiety/Mood
      • Cognitive
    • Treatment of PCS

(Total 15 minutes)


  • Evaluation and Treatment
    • History
    • Physical assessment
      • What to expect to see
    • Cervical Spine
    • Cervicogenic Head Ache
      • Differential diagnosis
      • Treatment
    • Vestibular system
      • Specific to saccades, VOR and VOR cancellation
      • Treatment
    • Cognition
      • Introduction of clinical tests

(Total 30 minutes)


  • Aerobic Training
    • Evaluation
    • Study showing impaired aerobic training post-concussion
    • Treatment
  • Balance
    • Balance tests for concussion population
    • Treatment

(Total 15 minutes)


  • Education
    • Sleep education
    • Routine normalization
  • Timing of treatment
  • Future of concussion detection
  • Course overview

(Total 15 minutes)


Online Multiple-Choice Exam: 21-Questions


Course Schedule

Video 1 (PowerPoint Recording) 60 minutes

Video 2-4: Vestibular assessment demonstration –15 minutes

21-Question Exam

Course CEU eligible Total:

Lecture, Video Demonstrations, Online Exam: 2



Elizabeth Winston, PT, DPT, NCS

Liz graduated from Brandeis University with her Bachelor of Science in 2006. After taking a year to work as a tech in a physical therapy clinic she attended the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute of Health Professions, where she graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2010. Her doctoral project was on improving health and fitness education for middle school students in underserved areas. Liz originally started out with an interested in burn care; however, after working in a Burn ICU where she was exposed to patients who had suffered anoxic brain injury she quickly grew a passion for treating those with neurological diagnoses. Liz has worked in a variety of setting including adult acute care, pediatric in and outpatient facilities, and early intervention. In 2013 Liz received her Neuro Clinical Specialist certificate and has been practicing solely with the neuro population ever since. Presently Liz works per-diem in outpatient neurology, with a special interest in vestibular and concussion care.



Expected Proficiency to Receive Certification
75% or higher on post-course examination