New concussion clinic fills critical gap in the system

TORONTO, July 2, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital opens its new Concussion Clinic focused on children and youth with persistent concussion lasting longer than four weeks.  The Concussion Clinic will be the first of its kind in Ontario dedicated to children who are affected by ongoing concussion symptoms.  Informed by the leading experts in pediatric concussion research at Holland Bloorview's Concussion Research Centre, the Concussion Clinic will offer expanded medical services to a previously underserved population.  

The Concussion Clinic is an expansion of existing acquired brain injury services at Holland Bloorview.  The new service will be available for children and youth with persistent concussion symptoms lasting longer than four weeks, and whose symptoms impact their ability to participate in their daily lives.

"Our experience indicates that one month is a turning point for many children with concussions.  If they are still having functional issues after four weeks, we start to see the situation worsen." - Dr. Peter Rumney, Physician Director and Pediatrician.

Holland Bloorview heard from parents, as well as clinicians and researchers, that children with persistent concussion symptoms face limited options for treatment.  Holland Bloorview's Concussion Clinic will fill that need in the community, offering service that extends beyond what can be provided by a general practitioner who may not regularly see pediatric brain injuries.  This new service is in keeping with recommendations from the recently released Guidelines for Pediatric Concussion, funded by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation, that were informed, in part, by leading clinical experts at Holland Bloorview.

Researchers in the Concussion Research Centre estimate that in minor hockey alone, 10-15% of all players suffer a concussion each year; in Ontario that translates to approximately 36,000 youth concussions annually.  That does not take into consideration all the other contact sports and situations, like falls, that can lead to youth concussion.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach, the Clinic brings together health-care providers from across the spectrum, including neurology, neuropsychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and social work, who work as a team to provide expert rehabilitation to children and youth suffering from concussion.

"Our cross-disciplinary approach is crucial, because every brain injury is unique.  We provide a breadth of expertise across multiple dimensions of care." - Dr. Ryan Hung, Pediatric Neurologist in the Concussion Clinic.

In addition to clinical services for concussion, Holland Bloorview offers free Concussion Education and Information Sessions to the public, for parents and kids who are interested in learning to recognize the signs of concussion and manage concussion symptoms.

Underpinning the Concussion Clinic services at Holland Bloorview are the research findings from the onsite Concussion Research Centre led by Dr. Michelle Keightley, one of the world's first research institutes to focus on pediatric concussions.

"Until now, concussion research has largely focused on adults, but we know that the brains and bodies of youth and children are continually developing and more vulnerable to the effect of a concussion.  We know the value of sport for children and youth, so our focus is on understanding these injuries and on returning kids to play safely." - Dr. Michelle Keightley, Senior Clinician Scientist in the Concussion Research Centre, holder of the Holland Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Holland Bloorview is Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital, fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. We pioneer treatments, technologies, therapies and real-world programs that give children with disabilities the tools to participate fully in life. 

SOURCE Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

For further information: Lydia Hanson, Senior Communications Associate, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, 416-425-6220 x3706, lhanson@hollandbloorview.ca; Claire Florentin, Senior Communications Associate, Bloorview Research Institute, 416-425-6220 x3497, cflorentin@hollandbloorview.ca