Week 8 NFL injury highlight goes to DeVante Parker of the New England Patriots.

DeVante Parker, WR for the Patriots, was in a helmet to helmet collision during their game against the Dolphins. Devante Parker is now in concussion protocol.

So let’s talk about concussions and how PTs can help.

Sports related concussions can occur due to “a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body
with an impulsive force transmitted to the head” as stated by the NFL.

Observable signs and symptoms of a concussion are:
⁃ loss of consciousness
⁃ impact seizure or fencing posture
⁃ Motor/coordination problems
⁃ Blank/vacant look
⁃ Disorientation and behavior change
⁃ Amnesia
⁃ Headache
⁃ Dizziness
⁃ Loss of balance
⁃ Nausea
⁃ Tinnitus
⁃ Visual changes
⁃ Light/sound sensitivity

During evaluation, physical therapists will look for changes in neuro function such as difference in reflexes, nerve function, and deficits in motor planning. PT’s will also look at any visual changes that the patient is experiencing along with dynamic and static balance.

Rule of thumb for return to sport activities, wait for concussions signs and symptoms to subside COMPLETELY before returning to full sport contact.

In the NFL, there are 5 phases to return to play:
1. Symptom limited activity
2. Aerobic exercise
3. Football specific exercise
4. Non-contact training drills
5. Full football/activity clearance

It is more than likely Parker will sit out next game due to continued signs and symptoms. He will work heavily with the team doctors and physical therapists for proper completion of return to play protocol and procedure.

In general, Physical Therapists will treat concussions by improving:
⁃ visual tracking, convergence, and ocular reflexes
⁃ Static and then dynamic balance activities
⁃ LE strengthening
⁃ Postural stability and proprioception for body awareness in space
⁃ Sport specific exercise drills

If not properly addressed right after concussion occurs, this can turn into post concussion syndrome which can make symptoms more severe and chronic. Don’t be afraid to see a Physical Therapist for treatment of concussion.

Published November 6, 2023 | Posted in NFL Injury Spotlight.