Invisible Trauma: Recovery From Complex Concussions - VIRTUAL COURSE

January 22-23, 2022
8:00-5:30 PM Saturday

8:00-4:30 PM Sunday


[Click here to register on our Partner's site] 

Course Description

Concussions are complex, and clinicians need specific knowledge and skills to progress treatment in this patient population effectively. Often the extent of their symptoms goes unnoticed, and the person loses valuable time to heal and return to function properly. Delayed diagnosis leads to psychological distress, physical limitations, and often depression until appropriate treatment is identified and executed. Develop a greater understanding of complex issues related to mild traumatic head injury, evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, and treatments that are the keys to a concussion patient's successful rehabilitation and return to a quality of life.

This is an advanced level course applicable for PT, PTA, OT, AT.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:


  • Identify the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system
  • Correlate anatomical and physiological disorders with signs and symptoms.
  • Identify specific oculomotor tests and discuss the relevance of test outcomes as well as symptoms and progression of function.
  • Identify pearls and pitfalls in the oculomotor examination, particularly to a concussion.
  • Identify oculomotor abnormalities.
  • Prioritize problems and develop a progressive treatment plan that systematically challenges specific systems without pushing too hard and having a setback.
  • Identify specific complications of concussion concerning vestibular dysfunction
  • Utilize evidence-based clinical tools during the evaluation and treatment of the mTBI patient.
  • Identify when to perform VOMS and discuss when the results indicate referral for a vestibular assessment.
  • Differentiate between: gaze-evoked nystagmus, saccadic intrusion, spontaneous nystagmus, saccadic intrusions with smooth pursuit, hypermetric saccades, rebound nystagmus.
  • Differentiate cervicogenic dizziness from anxiety and migraines in mTBI.
  • Discuss the characteristics and primary signs and symptoms of PPPD.
  • Differentiate symptoms related to PPPD.
  • Identify how to incorporate grounding, sensory reweighting, stabilization endurance exercises, mindfulness to address PPPD symptoms.
  • Identify common medications utilized for migraines and the potential side effects.
  • Identify when exertion training is appropriate.
  • Identify and develop a safe progression of care for back to work, home, sport, and activities of daily living.
  • Educate the patient, family, and other medical professionals on helpful techniques to minimize overstimulation when performing activities in social and community settings.
  • Educate the patient and family on techniques to utilize when performing ADL's in the home and out in social environments.

About the Instructor

Laura Morris, PT, NCS, is a physical therapist and lecturer with over 25 years of experience in the management of adults with neurologic disorders. Her clinical work focuses on vestibular disorders and mild traumatic brain injury at Elmhurst Memorial Hospital in the Chicago area. She is the Director of Communications for the Academy of Neurologic PT of the APTA. She teaches continuing education in concussion and vestibular rehabilitation both nationally and internationally. Her experience includes inpatient and outpatient care, clinical research and program development, including the launch of the fourth credentialed Neurologic PT Residency Program in Pittsburgh. Clinical practice also included vestibular and concussion rehabilitation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Mild Brain Injury Program in Baltimore, Maryland, and neurologic private practice in Alexandria, Virginia. She was re-credentialed for her Neurologic Clinical Specialist in 2013. She has been involved in the Academy of Neurologic PT and the Vestibular special interest group, primarily in positions involving website support. In 2005 she received the Award for Clinical Excellence in Neurology by the Neurology Section of the APTA, and in 2015 received the Service Award from the Vestibular Special Interest Group. Her contributions to the literature include book chapters and journal articles in the area of vestibular disorders and mild brain injury rehabilitation.



07:30-08:00 Registration/Continental Breakfast

08:00-09:00 Introduction, Update of Current Research and State of the Science

· Recent trends in research and translation to clinical practice

· How is rehab different now?

· Introduction of complex case examples: Geriatric patient with falls, chronic neck pain, anxiety, and visual sensitivities

· Athlete with chronic headache

09:00 10:00 Complications Related to Vestibular Dysfunction

· How is the oculomotor exam different (and the same) in concussion?

· Pearls and pitfalls of the oculomotor exam

· Visual assessment - when to refer

10:00-10:15 BREAK

10:15-11:00 Complications Related to Vestibular Dysfunction (continued)

11:00-12:00 Vestibular/Oculomotor Interventions

· How to tailor your interventions to the complex patient

· Prioritizing visual vs. vestibular impairments

· Visual intervention as it relates to function

12:00-01:00 LUNCH (on your own)

01:00-02:00 Visuo-Vestibular Lab

· Oculomotor exam demonstration and practice

· Visuo-vestibular intervention practice

· Convergence insufficiency training

· Gaze shifting for functional visual scanning

02:00-03:00 Exertion Impairment

· When to begin, how to begin to exert

· The problem with treadmills: problem-solving equipment modalities

· Endorphin withdrawal and emotional distress in athletes of all ages

03:00-03:15 BREAK

03:15-03:45 Cervical Contributions to Impairment

· Differential diagnosis - cervical vs. vestibular etiology to symptoms

· Decision-making between muscular and joint mobility intervention

· Cervical proprioception and sensory mismatch - diagnosis and interventions for cervicogenic dizziness

03:45-04:15 Cervical Lab

04:15-04:45 Case Example

· Geriatric patient with visual motion intolerance and imbalance

04:45-05:30 Billing, Reimbursement Issues

· Common CPT coding for concussion - how is it different?

· Review of documentation guidelines for vestibular dysfunction

· Justification of care via outcomes, merit-based medicine


07:30-08:00 Continental Breakfast

08:00-09:00 Headache

· Differentiation between headache types

· Migraine management

· How does medical management of headache fit into the rehab process?

09:00-10:00 Psychological, Functional and Emotional Complications to Recovery

· Anxiety and depression

· Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

· Strategies to assist in avoiding the progression to PPPD

· How to discuss with patients - examples of conversations with patients/role playing

10:00-10:15 BREAK

10:15-11:15 Considerations for Return to Recreational Activities (Lec/Lab)

· Vocational assessment for all ages and abilities

· Task analysis - is your patient ready?

· Designing an appropriate intervention for successful return to play

11:15-11:30 Putting it all Together:

· Comprehensive assessment

· What to assess and when

· How to navigate the multiple assessment and intervention options available

· Criteria and considerations for use of devices (what is it designed for, research behind it, normative values, clinical relevance - sway testing, King-Devick, Vision coach, impact)

11:30-12:00 Progression/Management Guidelines

· Prioritizing interventions and referrals to other practitioners

· Anxiety, headache, vision and neck pain - which to address first?

· How to work together when you are far apart

· When compensatory techniques are helpful or hurtful

12:00-01:00 LUNCH (on your own)

01:00-03:00 Cases (Break out small group)

· Challenges to returning to work/school-play

· Progression of intervention

· Small group discussion

03:00-03:15 BREAK

03:15-04:00 Documentation Dilemmas

· How to communicate your findings

· Goal writing

· Sample reports based upon cases

04:00-04:30 Questions, wrap-up




Hotel Accommodations

Coming soon....

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Who Should Attend

This is an advanced level course applicable for PT, PTA, OT, AT.


15 contact hours