New clinic dedicated to concussive injury recovery, education


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Kathleen Bell, M.D., Chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Whether they are mild, moderate, or severe, concussions disrupt how the neurological system functions. A new clinic at UT Southwestern—dedicated to diagnosing and treating concussive injuries—is built on the latest science about the brain, how injuries affect it, and which treatment strategies are most effective.

Because of the wide range of symptoms patients experience and the complexities of concussions, Concussion Clinic patients have access to a team of experts in neurological care from a variety of disciplines, including physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, neuropsychology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

Leading-Edge Evaluations

With the neurological expertise and the sense of urgency required for the treatment of brain injuries, UTSW specialists evaluate patients promptly after suspected or diagnosed concussive injuries. They also perform assessments for persisting symptoms after concussion for those who are slow to recover from their injury.

After initial assessments, specialists can perform any other diagnostic tests that may be needed. The team uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging and other testing to assess symptoms and also help to direct appropriate care and recommendations.

Appropriate Levels of Care

“The vast majority of concussions are considered mild, and recovery occurs within days to a few weeks,” notes neuro-rehabilitation specialist Kathleen Bell, M.D., Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and head of the Concussion Clinic. “For about 20 percent of concussions, though, continuing medical attention is required, and when that’s the case, our team develops highly individualized treatment plans and directs the care needed to support recovery.”

Dr. Bell adds, “As the brain heals, we evaluate progress and determine the appropriate timing for someone to return to sports activities, school, or work.”

Along with other medical and surgical care available to manage all aspects and degrees of concussions, the Concussion Clinic’s services include:

  • Medical and pharmacological management
  • Headache treatment (including pharmacological therapies, Botox, biofeedback, and cognitive/behavioral therapy)
  • Musculoskeletal and orthopaedic care
  • Vestibular therapy
  • Sleep disorder evaluation and management
  • Vision evaluation (ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology)
  • Endocrine evaluation and management
  • Rehabilitation and educational counseling
  • Acupuncture

To refer a patient or consult with a Concussion Clinic specialist, call 214-645-8300.

Understanding the Brain and How it Heals

The Concussion Clinic is part of UT Southwestern’s Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute and is affiliated with UTSW’s Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair, a state-funded initiative to promote innovative research and education, with the goal of accelerating translation into better diagnosis and treatment for people who suffer brain injuries.

The Institute is focused on three key areas, each of which is expected to have positive implications for patient care outcomes:

  • Innovative basic science and clinical research
  • State-of-the-art brain imaging
  • Community education and prevention strategies