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Sports Concussion

Sports Concussion Rehabilitation

Sports concussions are increasing at an alarming rate. According to the Brain Injury Alliance of Washington, sports activities account for 173,285 traumatic brain injuries every year. PeaceHealth's Sports Concussion Rehabilitation program offers comprehensive concussion treatment and rehabilitation services for athletes of all ages.

Call 360-514-2048 to schedule an appointment with our Sports Concussion Rehabilitation team, who will help you return to full participation in school, sports, and recreational activities.

What is a concussion?
A concussion, also referred to a mild traumatic brain injury or TBI, is caused by a direct blow to the head or body.  When you sustain a concussion, the impact can jolt your brain.  Concussions can cause bruising, damage to the blood vessels, and injury to the nerves. Concussions can occur with or without loss of consciousness and, while non-life-threatening, concussions can cause both short-term and long-term problems.

All about concussions

Who we help:

  • Athletes who have been diagnosed with a sports related concussion

What we do:
Our team of physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists provide a comprehensive assessment including vestibular, cognition, vision, sensory processing and other neurological and musculoskeletal systems. We develop an individualized care plan to help the athlete return to sports and other activities.

Why Choose Us:

  • Our multi-disciplinary rehabilitation services are offered in a single location
  • Our program is modeled after the evidenced-based REAP (Reduce, Educate, Accommodate, Pace) community-based model for Concussion Management
  • Our team will work collaboratively with the student/athlete, family, trainers, coaches, school and medical team

Program Overview
Our Sports Concussion Rehabilitation Program targets athletes of all levels and ages, including middle school, high school, college, club, professional and recreational. Rehabilitation may begin within one week of injury, with a goal to return to sports activities within six weeks. Frequency of visits usually range up to three visits per week based on the patient's specific needs. If symptoms persist longer than six weeks, patients can transition to our outpatient Neurological Rehabilitation Clinic for ongoing treatment.

Comprehensive Program Includes:

  • Orthopedic evaluation and rehabilitation of the cervical spine and other potential sources of post traumatic headache
  • Vestibular rehabilitation to address dizziness and balance impairments
  • Oculomotor and vision rehabilitation to address reading, driving and visual processing
  • Cognitive rehabilitation to address attention, memory, problem solving, planning, organization, reaction time and processing
  • Appropriate exercise to improve activity tolerance without provoking concussive symptoms
  • A graduated return to play protocol to ensure a safe progression through sport specific tasks while monitoring symptoms and activity tolerance
  • Specialist referrals and consultations including sports medicine

About Sports Concussion Rehabilitation
To prevent long term complications of concussion including persistent headaches, dizziness, fatigue, depression, or difficulty concentrating, it is imperative to facilitate return to sport, school, work and recreational activities safely and quickly. Returning to sport before the brain is fully healed can result in your symptoms taking longer to resolve and put you at increased risk of reinjury. With the support of our multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team consisting of physical, speech, and occupational therapists, you will be guided through the post-concussion recovery process and educated on how to promote healing while safely maintaining prior level of fitness. Our rehabilitation team will evaluate and treat your deficits in the vestibular system, cognition, vision, and sensory processing following a concussion and facilitate your return to school, work, sport, and recreational activities, with an individualized program specific to you and your sport or activity.

About Vestibular Rehabilitation
Dizziness and impaired balance are commonly reported symptoms following a concussion. The vestibular system senses head movements, keeps your eyes focused when you move your head, and helps you maintain balance. A Physical Therapist will assess for impairment of the vestibular system following a concussion. Vestibular rehabilitation can help teach the brain to process input from all three balance systems (vestibular, vision, and somatosensory) accurately. Rehabilitation exercises are based on your deficits to improve your functional balance, gaze stabilization, and dizziness with activities.

About Cognitive Rehabilitation
Following a concussion, working with a Speech Language Pathologist may be beneficial to address communication, formulation and processing of language, and a variety of other cognitive skills. Cognitive rehabilitation will target the skills needed to complete daily activities successfully - things like attending to a lecture, arriving to appointments on time, or organizing a shopping list. In order to complete these daily tasks, you need functional attention, memory for recalling information, problem solving, planning, and organization. Personality and social skills may also be impacted post-concussion. These changes in cognitive skills may be subtle but disruptive to your ability to successfully return to school, work, or personal responsibilities after an injury.

About Visual Rehabilitation
Oculomotor changes and post-traumatic visual syndrome can occur following a concussion.  An occupational therapist will evaluate all aspects of visual function that may impact reading, driving, and visual processing during cognitive and daily tasks.  The occupational therapist will provide treatments and strategies to maximize function during reading and/or computer use, navigating your home, school, and community, and completing school-based, sports-based and leisure activities.    

About Sensory Processing Rehabilitation
The brain’s ability to process the incoming 5 senses can become overwhelmed and ineffective after sustaining a concussion. You may feel more irritable, anxious, distracted, or less motivated than usual. Many times, these changes come from the brain’s inability to process and tolerate everything in your environment. An Occupational Therapist (OT) will help to evaluate changes in sensory processing and work towards re-integrating the senses. Sleep and wake cycles may also change post-concussion. An OT can evaluate how your daily activities and routines may influence your sleep at night and teach you strategies to help re-set your sleep and wake cycles to improve sleep hygiene and quality of sleep.

Make an Appointment
Call 360-514-2048 to schedule an appointment with our Sports Concussion Rehabilitation team, who will help you return to full participation in school, sports, and recreational activities.

We are located in the Physician's Pavilion at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center
200 NE Mother Joseph Place, Suite 100
Vancouver, WA 98664

Meet our Team!


Patrick Cawneen PT, DPT
Physical Therapist
Patrick earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, with a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Physical Therapy from University of Dayton in Ohio. Patrick is a member of the Orthopedic Section of the American Physical Therapy Association and is certified in the Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), a movement-based diagnostic system. Patrick's clinical areas of interest include treating patients with orthopedic impairments of the spine and extremities along with vestibular dysfunctions. Patrick also enjoys treating athletes as he has experience woking with professional baseball players. A Cleveland native, Patrick is a devoted follower of Cleveland sports, and also enjoys spending time with his family and in the outdoors.
Chris Garcia, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Physical Therapist/Clinical Specialist
Chris earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Eastern Washington University in 2006.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of Wyoming.  Chris earned the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist designation in 2004 and an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certification in 2010. 
Advanced Certifications: Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS)
Clinical Areas of Interest: treating the hip, knee, shoulder, spine, and running and jump sports medicine programs.
Ann Ferguson, OTR/L
Clinic Lead, OP Neuro Rehab
Occupational Therapist/Clinical Specialist

Ann earned a Combined Bachelor and Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1993 through Western Michigan University. She is the Lead Therapist in OP Neuro Rehabilitation and Clinical Specialist in Low Vision. Ann has developed the PHSW Vision programs for Neurological Changes and Low Vision and has taught courses throughout the NW and California since 2005. She also specializes in hemiparetic upper extremities focusing on Post-Botox treatment for spasticity. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family: camping, hiking, doing cross-stitch, touring National parks and going to Disneyland.
Sarah Sureck PT, DPT
Physical Therapist    
Sarah earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.  Prior to that, she received her Bachelor of Science Degree with a major in Pre-Physical Therapy from the University of Dayton in Dayton, OH. Sarah is a member of the Sports Physical Therapy Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Her clinical interests include treating patients with orthopedic impairments of the shoulder and neck as well as patients with balance deficits. Additionally, she is part of the multidisciplinary team at PeaceHealth Southwest devoted to rehabilitating patients recovering from sport-related concussions. In her free time, Sarah enjoys spending time with family and friends, hiking, camping, and traveling.
Lisa Exline
Speech Language Pathologist
Lisa earned her Bachelor’s degree at California State University Long Beach before pursuing her Masters degree at the University of Iowa in 2000. She has been with PeaceHealth Southwest since 2010 and is the Lead therapist on the Speech-Language Pathology team. She specializes in intensive rehabilitation for adults with neurological impairments, including stroke and brain injury. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, cooking and travel.
Advanced certifications: Certified Brain Injury Specialist, Modified Barium Swallow Study Impairment Profile
Clinical Expertise: Adult neurological disorders in motor speech, language and cognition