Susan Barker and Heather Fritz
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Background: Sports-related concussions (SRC) are a common injury sustained by many athletes of all different age groups and sports. The current standard treatment is rest followed by aerobic activity. Little has been researched on the effects of vestibular rehabilitation for concussion treatment, especially in physical therapy practice.
Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to research the effects of early intervention of vestibular rehabilitation and an athlete’s time to return to play compared to rest alone.
Methods: Two searches were conducted (August 2021 & January 2022). Databases looked at were CINAHL complete, MEDLINE, PubMed, Wiley online database, and one hand search. Search terms included vestibular rehabilitation or vestibular therapy, concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury or mild TBI, athletes, sports, athletics or performance, and early interventions or therapy or treatment.
Results: Yielded 11 articles (randomized control trials and retrospective cohort studies). Inclusion criteria were athletes who sustained a SRC, incorporation of vestibular rehabilitation in athletes recovery, and early vestibular intervention tools.
Discussion: Incorporating visual interventions and cervical manual therapy into early rehabilitation significantly reduces symptoms and time to return to sport. However, balance interventions do not have a significant effect on reducing time to return to sport when used as a sole intervention.
Conclusion: Beginning VRT as early as 10 to 30 days post-concussion has been shown to contribute to a quicker resolution of symptoms and a quicker return to sport. However, more data collection needs to be performed to determine the effectiveness of early intervention in concussion recovery.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy, early intervention, concussion, mTBI, athletes, post-concussion syndrome
Medicine and Health Sciences | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy | Sports Sciences
Babula, Gabrielle; Warunek, Edward; Nikolski, Grace; and Cure, Katherine, "Vestibular Rehabilitation as an Early Intervention in Athletes Who Are Post-Concussion: A Systematic Review" (2022). Student Research Poster Presentations 2022. 39.