Success story

Evolving concussion care through active rehabilitation

Stamford Health serves as a model for concussion care in the eastern US and beyond. As they continue learning more about concussions, their practice evolves to meet the growing needs in their community.

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Stamford Health

Stamford Health is a comprehensive concussion care center for patients and athletes in Connecticut.

Headquarters: Stamford, CT
Industry: Comprehensive concussion care

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Christina Kunec, PsyD.
Neuropsychologist and Concussion Center Director

Jill Walker Stamford Impact Applications

Jill Walker, Ph.D.
Neuropsychologist

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Rebecca Petersen, ATC, ITAT
Patient Care Coordinator

Stamford Health, like many concussion clinics, started out of necessity to provide concussion care in their community.

A recent graduate of the neuropsychology fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program, Christina Kunec, PsyD., Neuropsychologist was recruited to lead the nascent center. Knowing that a multidisciplinary model is essential to the treatment of this complex head injury, she assembled a team of providers from Adult and Pediatric Neurology, Integrative Medicine, and Outpatient Rehabilitation.

Responsible for conducting neuropsychological testing, Jill Walker, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist, works closely with Stamford's team of clinicians to guide the appropriate treatment of pediatric and adult patients diagnosed with concussion. They're the only multidisciplinary team in the area comprised of experts specifically trained in concussion care.

At the Concussion Center, evaluations consist of a detailed clinical interview, neurocognitive testing with ImPACT, and vestibular ocular and balance assessments. These objective assessments provide opportunities to quantify the effects of head injury, measure their recovery, and connect them with appropriate care providers as necessary. An additional goal of every session is to educate patients on concussion.

Members of Stamford’s concussion care team have completed training: Credentialed ImPACT Consultant course, ImPACT Trained clinician program, and other continuing education courses. They understand the nature of the injury, and they’re all speaking the same language across disciplines.

Educating patients and improving outcomes

“So much of this head injury is subjective and invisible. We have patients who come from outside providers whose only measure of recovery has been a symptom checklist. Since our team knows what to look for, we're giving them the best chance for a successful recovery.”

They provide valuable concussion education in their community and make sure their patients leave with a better understanding of their head injury.

Rebecca Petersen, ATC, ITAT, Patient Care Coordinator, along with Stamford’s concussion care clinicians, gives concussion talks to athletes and their families through local sports organizations as well as at libraries and YMCAs. The multidisciplinary team provides education for other stakeholders so everyone understands the risks, signs and symptoms of concussion.

Their patients leave their appointments understanding their symptoms and with a reasonable expectation for recovery. Education is especially important for the patients and their families.

Active treatment and rehabilitation to help patients return to activity quickly and safely

The Concussion Center team members regularly attend national conferences and training seminars to stay abreast of new developments within the field. Waiting for a concussion to get better can create a lot of anxiety for individuals who are normally always on the go. To that end, they encourage patients to resume light physical activity as soon as possible with a goal of getting them back to school, work, or sport as soon as possible. This approach is empirically supported and sets them apart from other treating clinicians in the area. Sitting around and waiting for a concussion to get better can create a lot of anxiety for individuals who are normally always on the go.

Looking to the future

Stamford Health’s clinic is working on better diagnosing, which leads to better outcomes for patients. They continue educating patients on concussions and making sure they get the help they need.

They're focusing on active rehabilitation strategies to improve patient outcomes.

“We're looking for the maximum level of activity a patient can do before they become moderately symptomatic. It's the next level of concussion care. The patients appreciate getting active earlier, because they want to get back to their daily lives as soon as possible.”

Stamford Health serves as a model for concussion care in the eastern US and beyond. As they continue learning more about concussions, their practice evolves to meet the growing needs in their community.

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