State of the Art

The role of the physiotherapist in concussion

Megyn K. Robertson, James McLoughlin
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 80, No 1 | a2013 | DOI: | © 2024 Megyn K. Robertson, James McLoughlin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 November 2023 | Published: 30 April 2024

About the author(s)

Megyn K. Robertson, South African Society of Physiotherapy, Johannesburg, South Africa
James McLoughlin, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Faculty of Physiotherapy, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia


In the last decade, concussion research has exploded in multiple fields of scientific research. This has helped to clarify what causes, influences, and perpetuates human concussion, and displays the integral role physiotherapists play in concussion management. In this article we discuss the latest research relevant to the key role of physiotherapy in concussion management. A narrative review of the literature on concussion was conducted. The current review analyses how concussion has influenced physiotherapy in several categories: assessment, treatment, management, research rigour and building the profile of the profession. Scientific concussion research has largely converged in support of the role of physiotherapists utilising specific components including: (1) autonomic, (2) cervicogenic, (3) vestibulo-ocular and (4) psychological approaches to management. Latest research supports the critical role of physiotherapy in concussion care in the assessment, management, and prevention of concussion with scope for further interdisciplinary collaborations.

Clinical implications: Concussion is complex. A basic mental health, Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) and four key components relating to concussion management (autonomic, cervicogenic, vestibular oculomotor, and psychological approaches to management) should be included in the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum. This will aid clinical physiotherapists to support their patients. A call to advance more intradisciplinary physiotherapy teamwork should be encouraged as valuable knowledge sharing is potentially lost within the framework of ‘specialisation’. If needed, the skills of a greater interdisciplinary team are imperative to facilitate patient management and recovery from this multi-faceted injury.


concussion; physiotherapy; vestibular; oculomotor; cervicogenic; autonomic; mental health; intradisciplinary


Total abstract views: 566
Total article views: 253

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.