Capital Region | Capital Health | Summer 2020

4 Capital Region Medical Center Post-concussion rehabilitation After months of preparation, from summer camps to after-school practices and long hours in the weight room, it was time to kick off the 2019–2020 high school basketball season. On Nov. 19, 2019, just two days before the season opener, Joseph (Joey) Rembecki’s team held an intense scrimmage where players were competing for their positions. But the much anticipated season of his junior year did not go as planned. During the scrimmage, as he approached the basket for a layup, another player who was set to take the charge knocked Joey’s hip from under him. Joey fell hard to the floor, taking a direct hit to the back of his head. Through an assessment by the team’s athletic trainer, it was determined that Joey had sustained a concussion. While he didn’t lose consciousness, he was dazed, confused and experiencing a lot of pain. After discussion with the athletic trainer, Joey’s mother, Sarah Rembecki, who happens to be a pediatric nurse practitioner, decided to monitor his symptoms at home for a while. Something wasn’t right Despite still experiencing some basic concussion symptoms (headache, feeling slightly dazed), Joey, a serious student, was determined to return to school right away. Within an hour of returning on his first day, however, his mother got a call to pick him up. “This went on for a while,” Sarah says. “We thought he was going to get better.” Statistically, 90% of those diagnosed with a concussion will return to normal activity on their own without medical intervention. However, as time went by, Sarah was becoming concerned that Joey might be part of the 10% who suffer post-concussion syndrome. The once straight-A student was now having difficulty focusing in the classroom, struggling with memory recall and experiencing exacerbated symptoms when exposed to crowds, loud noises and bright light. They knew it was time to get help. What is post-concussion syndrome? Symptoms of post-concussion syndrome can include visual problems, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, attention problems, fogginess, fatigue, trouble sleeping, irritability, cognitive slowing, and balance issues. These symptoms can be helped through treatment by a rehab therapist who specializes in concussion management. Studies have shown that early initiation of physical therapy interventions have a positive impact at reducing these symptoms at a quicker rate than non-intervention. Why Capital Region? Initially, his primary care physician referred Joey to a concussion specialist in Columbia, MO, who then recommended vestibular therapy at MU Health Care. “For the number of treatments he was going to need, the frequent 30-minute drive to Columbia Capital Region’s multidisciplinary outpatient team is here to serve individuals who have sustained a concussion. Through individualized assessment and treatment, patients can minimize their symptoms and return to daily activity and life in a safe manner. When symptoms of a concussion don’t go away