Jan 29, 2015
Dual-Task Concussion Recovery

On Friday afternoon, Johna Register-Mihalik, PhD, ATC, Senior Research Associate in the Clinical Research Unit at WakeMed Health & Hospitals will lead a learning lab “Using Dual-Task Paradigms in Assessment and Return-to-Play Progressions Following Concussions.” This two-hour learning lab will introduce attendees to the subject and then allow them to apply the knowledge in a practice session.
“We’re going to talk about concurrent training with balance and cognition at the same time,” Register-Mihalik says. “Often times, we’re progressing people back with any injury, and we think about balance and the risk of over-taxing the system. With concussions, it’s a new paradigm to think about how to integrate those two things as we return somebody to play.

“This learning lab is going to present some of the evidence that is surrounding the return to play guidelines, as well as divided attention and dual-task training,” she continues. “We’re also going to discuss treating a protracted or prolonged recovery and when we can start incorporating some of the dual-task activities into the management process of those concussions.”

The lab will be lecture-based in the first half, with the focus on the types of literature that are available on dual-task training. “There are some things that we can learn from more severe brain injuries, where the dual-task type of training has been really effective,” Register-Mihalik says. “Then, everyone will get a chance to practice those types of activities from a lab standpoint.”

During second half of the session, attendees will be divided up into groups of three to practice different levels of dual-task activities. “They might do something simple, like counting by fives while balancing on one leg,” Register-Mihalik says. “Or they might do more advanced things, like closing their eyes and having somebody push them–while counting backwards from 100 by sevens. By actually trying it, attendees will hopefully get some ideas on how to incorporate this concept into their clinical practice. We’re going to go through some things that are not monetarily costly, and that anyone can do throughout the recovery stages. Since you don’t need a lot of supplies, it is applicable for every trainer–It’s just a matter of understanding what dual-task training is and how to use it.”

Along with trying out some of the methods that can be used, attendees will also receive a handout to help utilize this training after the convention. “The handout will have a framework in terms of simplest to most advanced activities,” Register-Mihalik says. “And there will be examples that participants can take with them to use in their own practices after they leave the learning lab.”

The learning lab, “Using Dual-Task Paradigms in Assessment and Return-to-Play Progressions Following Concussions,” is on Friday from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

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