Sunday 11 October 2015

New concussion clinic at Decarie Square is a complete "management centre"

Concussions have become more common in our everyday lives and it is not only due to sports accidents. I recently went to the local fruit store where the cashier did not look to healthy. She had just been diagnosed with a concussion after smashing her head in the freezer.

For Montreal business woman Kathy Cohen this all hit home after her daughter, an excellent basketball player, suffered two concussions. When she sought assistance in the medical community she realized that there were not too many options where this could be dealt with under one roof. So she went about setting up her own operation. Neurocircuit opened quietly at the end of August at the revamped Decarie Square.  The state-of-the-art facility is located within the Kinatex Physiotherapy headquarters.
Kathy Cohen, Diane Saucier and Julia Peress
This is a complete concussion management center offering education, baseline testing, post-injury assessment, post-injury therapy and strategies to facilitate return to school, work and play. Jonathan Cohen, Kathy’s son, is a personal trainer and works with kinesiologists Diane Saucer and Julia Peress. They also work with  physiotherapists, occupational therapists and athletic therapists.
Jonathan Cohen

“We are offering a service  that has expertise, care and compassion,” says Kathy Cohen. “There is a personalized aspect to what we do.”

The team at Neurocircuit believe that proper management of concussions starts with recognition followed by immediate and decisive action. Studies show that those who understand the severity of concussions are more likely to report them. Dr. Charles Tatar, a neurologist from the University of Toronto stated that there is evidence that education about concussion leads to a reduction in the incidence of concussion and improved outcomes from concussion.

Baseline testing is used to assess an individual’s processing speed, attention span, learning ability, reaction speed, eye tracking, balance and working memory.   The results  would  be compared to pre-injury or baseline results to determine if there has been a decline in neurocognitive functioning, reaction time, balance and/or vision. In the absence of a baseline test, the post-injury results can be compared to normative data. Research has shown, however, that the “average performance” scores represented in the normative data can vary significantly thereby reducing the accuracy of the results.

An initial visit will enable the clinician to gather medical history and to gain a thorough understanding of the mechanism of injury and the severity of the symptoms. This will be followed by a series of assessments designed to identify and isolate the source of the symptoms. The assessments could include computerized neurocognitive testing, balance evaluation, strength and coordination screening, binocular vision screening, vestibular testing, a gait assessment, a generalized neurological screen and an orthopaedic assessment of secondary injuries. The various assessment tools provide objective results which will help guide treatment. The referring physician will receive a report outlining the results of the assessment.

Based on the information gathered, an individualized treatment and training plan will be developed. The clinician will design a treatment plan to target, isolate, challenge and strengthen the areas of weakness. Using state of the art assessment and treatment tools including Dynavision D2, Neurotracker, and Fitlight, the clinician will be able to train the injured person’s cognitive, visual and vestibular systems. In addition to clinical treatment, the individual will be given a home exercise program in order to expedite recovery. Progress reports will be available to referring physicians upon request.

Protocols dictate that the individual should avoid any visual or cognitive stimulation for the 48 hours following a concussion to allow his/her brain to heal. Post concussive symptoms can vary in intensity and duration. Depending on the symptoms, students may sometimes return to school with certain accommodations. Social interaction in a school environment can play a positive role in the resolution of emotional symptoms.

Once the athlete is able to complete the visual, vestibular and/or cognitive exercises symptom free, the clinician will add a physical component to the treatment sessions. Neurocircuit’s Return to Play protocols will continue to challenge the athlete. Adding visual, vestibular, reactive and decision-making components to the high intensity physical training session will help prepare the athlete for game play.  The decision to clear the athlete will be made by the treating physician. Neurocircuit will provide the medical doctor with a report with the most recent results. 

The clinic is also getting in to sports vision training, which is intended to improve the athlete’s ability to process what they see.   Many professional athletes are incorporating vision training in their weekly routines.  Studies have shown vision training will boost performance in the following sports: baseball, hockey, basketball, football, tennis, soccer, golf and martial arts.   Neurocircuit already has some elite athletes as clients.

Meanwhile, Neurocircuit will also be getting in to working with youngsters who have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

For more information call 514-739-8555 or email

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