Two young men playing hockey compete for the puck.

Sport concussion program

Comprehensive care for concussions in the Twin Cities

When you’re in the middle of the action playing your favorite sport, collisions and falls involving trauma to the head can happen unexpectedly. If you think you may be dealing with a concussion, getting expert care is important for both short-term and long-term recovery.

TRIA has the only interdisciplinary Sport Concussion Program in the region, specializing in helping athletes return to their physical, academic and social activities as safely – and as quickly – as possible. Our team is made up of expert doctors, neuropsychologists, physical therapists and athletic trainers all working together in one location to provide concussion care based on the most recent scientific research and evidence-based studies.

We aim to provide immediate appointment access for concussion patients because of the seriousness of the injury, as well as the impact it can have on a patient’s quality of life. We serve athletes from youth to professional levels, and we understand that no two concussions are the same. No matter your age or sport, we’re here with the care you need and a personalized treatment plan to help you get back to what you love.

How the Sport Concussion Program works

Our Sport Concussion Program is offered to athletes ages 5 through 60. This includes individuals who are trying to return to sports participation, recreational activities or simply an active lifestyle after a concussion.

Evaluation process

Our concussion evaluation begins with a comprehensive interview to understand your medical history, as well as symptoms and the recovery time for any previous concussions. You’ll also have physical and neurological exams to assess balance, and vestibular and ocular motor function. Computerized neurocognitive testing through the ImPACT Application Assessment Tools help us determine details about your injury, prognosis and the best treatment options for you.

Creating your customized treatment plan

After the evaluation, our care team will create a personalized treatment plan that’s tailored to your unique needs. This will also include concussion education and an estimated recovery time, with guidelines for school, work and physical activity.

Next, you’ll be referred to the appropriate specialists for the therapies we’ve recommended. Our care team works closely together to ensure a coordinated effort toward your recovery. Each member of the team will be up to speed on your information, and we’ll be by your side every step of the way as you heal.

Sport Concussion Program treatment options

A concussion takes time to heal, and every person needs a unique treatment plan. We have a variety of specialized services to help with your recovery.

Neuropsychology

Unique to our program, our neuropsychologists specialize in assessing and treating concussions. We use a variety of tests designed to evaluate common cognitive symptoms that follow a concussion like difficulties concentrating, memory concerns, and psychosocial factors that may impact recovery.

Our neuropsychologists will guide you toward the best treatment options and through challenges at school or work. We’ll also help you with social or behavioral modifications that will keep you more comfortable. And we’ll work with you to help prevent future injuries, determine the next steps in your treatment plan and make decisions about returning to play

We also offer ImPACT testing for baseline and post-injury assessment. ImPACT testing or “Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing” is a 30-minute test that measures your processing speed, reaction time, attention, and verbal and visual learning and memory. Test results are used to help us monitor cognitive progress after an injury, or to serve as a baseline we can compare any future ImPACT tests against in case you experience a concussion later. In some cases, this is the only neuropsychological testing that is needed.

Vestibular and ocular motor therapy

Vestibular and ocular motor therapy is a branch of neurological physical therapy that addresses concussion symptoms like dizziness, imbalance, visual concerns and difficulties focusing. These sensory systems allow athletes to function both on and off the field. Our physical therapy specialists have advanced training in these areas, tailoring treatments specifically to athletes and their sport-specific tasks. Weekly on-site visits and prescribed individualized home exercise programs are used to progress athletes safely back to their goals.

Cervical spine and pain management

Our physical therapy specialists have advanced training in assessment and management of neck-related injuries that can occur with concussion and cause pain, limited range of motion, headaches and dizziness. Addressing cervical spine problems and pain management during recovery is vital, and we’re here to help.

Medication management

Sometimes headaches, sleep disturbances, mood swings and other concussion symptoms may require medication as part of your treatment plan. Medications may be recommended for individuals who experience decreased cognitive performance, difficulty sleeping, mood concerns or post-traumatic migraines. If medication is recommended as a part of your treatment plan, we’ll work with you to determine the best options for your personal health and goals.

Counseling and sports psychology services

Changes in behavior and mood, like anxiety or irritability, can occur with concussion. These symptoms can arise from changes within the brain or the stress of being away from academic, exercise and sports routines. Our clinical sports neuropsychologists offer counseling and sports psychology services to help you recover from these changes and feel like yourself again.

If you need other mental health services, we’ll refer you to a specialist.

Integrative medicine

If you’re looking for a holistic approach to your recovery, we have a variety of integrative medicine services that can improve concussion symptoms. Our doctors can help you get relief from headaches and anxiety, as well as problems with sleep and managing stress. The goal is to empower you in your recovery by tapping into your body’s natural healing capabilities. We offer acupuncture, yoga therapy and Living Well consults.

Exertion training and return-to-play

It’s important to have an individual treatment plan in place before you can safely return to your sport or activity. Once concussion symptoms have resolved or stabilized, athletes are often encouraged to begin an exercise program or return-to-play plan. This will include exertion therapy.

Exertion therapy is an important treatment for people who have lingering concussion symptoms (protracted recovery). During this treatment, we’ll guide you through an individual treatment plan with exercises to help you rehabilitate. Our team specializes in designing sport-specific return-to-play plans to help you recover fully and safely get back in the game.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

It’s important to take it easy and give yourself time to heal after a concussion. These are a few easy ways to care for yourself at home:

  • Athletes should initially maintain physical and cognitive rest. Rest is a key factor in recovering from a brain injury. Do your best to get good sleep in the days following a concussion – though it is important to try to stay on a normal schedule of being awake during the day and sleeping at night. However, many people experience difficulty sleeping after a concussion, which can make getting appropriate rest difficult. If you’re experiencing this symptom, consider scheduling an appointment with a concussion specialist.
  • Avoid screens for one or two days. Using screens can make headaches or eyestrain worse. Take a break from phones, computers and tablets for a couple days as you recover, if they make your symptoms worse.
  • Ease back into regular activities. In most cases, it’s safe to return to light physical and mental activity after a couple days. This includes regular household chores, going on light walks, and reading or watching TV. Take short rests between activities as needed.

Avoiding sleep when you have a concussion is a common myth. There is no medical evidence to suggest that sleeping after a concussion increases your risk of severe health conditions. Sleeping is actually one of the best ways to help your brain heal from an injury.

If you’ve seen a doctor and confirmed no other treatment is needed, it’s safe to rest. But keep an eye out for dilated pupils, trouble walking or vomiting. These can be symptoms of a more serious head injury and you should seek emergency medical care.

We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, PreferredOne and many others.

You can check with your insurance to see if your plan covers part or all of the services needed. Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.

Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started: