Complex Concussion Clinic

What Is a Complex Concussion?

Illustration visually depicting affect of complex concussion rehabilitation on the brainA sudden jolt or blow to the head can cause mild traumatic brain injury, commonly known as a concussion. Typically, concussions resolve within a week or two as headaches and other symptoms subside. Patients return to work, school or the playing field, often feeling as capable as they did before their injury. But about 20% of cases present a more difficult scenario, with concussion complications that fall beyond the scope of primary care physicians. In this scenarios, more complex rehabilitation for concussions may be necessary.

What Is Concussion Therapy?

The Complex Concussion Clinic serves patients ages 12 and up who are experiencing symptoms from a concussion or mild brain injury. The clinic’s extensive program provides recreation therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, psychological counseling, vestibular therapy for dizziness and balance and athletic training.

Concussions affect different brain networks, so quickly addressing the range of impairments improves the patient’s recovery. Each patient receives an initial evaluation to determine the best course for treatment. This evaluation may include cognitive, ocular-motor, vestibular and balance testing, and, when needed, assessments with other diagnostic technologies, including advanced imaging.

Once a patient has been evaluated, our care team will meet to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to that patient’s specific injury. The clinic streamlines care by providing interdisciplinary resources at a single site, including specialists in neurology, vestibular and balance disorders, athletic training, rehabilitation medicine, neuropsychology and neurosurgery.

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We strive to return patients to their full activity and performance level as quickly and as safely as possible. While cognitive rest may be necessary for up to 48 hours after injury, we determine when patients need active therapy to prevent long-term complications and to spark recovery. We seek the best outcome for every patient while minimizing the use of medications, which can mask symptoms and cause side effects that impede progress.

Complex concussion treatment duration varies based on individual needs, but typically involves outpatient visits for eight to 12 weeks. We serve adolescents, as well as adults, in our 4,000-square-foot therapy space, which has state-of-the-art equipment for strengthening, athletic conditioning and balance, oculomotor training and gait training.

The Complex Concussion Clinic builds on the experiences of clinicians in Shepherd Center’s SHARE Military Initiative, which provides care for service men and women who sustained mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. Their injuries are usually blast-related – as opposed to the sports injuries, falls and motor vehicle accidents that comprise most of the cases seen by the Complex Concussion Clinic. But much has been learned from the successful rehabilitation of our military clients.

Shepherd Center also has a long history of supporting professional, collegiate and youth sports teams. Using telemedicine, our specialists consult with coaches, athletes, parents and school officials to ensure safe return to play. We also assist in designing temporary accommodations as needed to enable patients to return to school or work.

Complex concussions can be troubling for patients and medically challenging for frontline physicians. Our focused approach to care can significantly reduce recovery time and improve patient outcomes.

Read more about the Complex Concussion Clinic and learn more about Russell Gore, M.D., medical director of the Complex Concussion Clinic.


Referrals to the Complex Concussion Clinic

Treatment at the Complex Concussion Clinic is available with a referral by your frontline provider, such as a sports medicine, emergency room or primary care physician, or athletic trainer. Referral is appropriate for patients who experience:

  • Dizziness, balance problems and nausea lasting more than a few days after the injury
  • Protracted difficulty with concentration, memory, dizziness and difficulty sleeping two to three weeks after injury
  • Extended recovery from a prior concussion
  • Migraine, attention deficits or other learning challenges

Request an Evaluation

If you are interested in an evaluation with one of our concussion therapy specialists, please email the following to cccadmissions@shepherd.org or fax to 404-603-4422:

Additionally, please complete the Release of Information Form and send it directly to all providers that you have seen for your concussion(s).


Contact the Complex Concussion Clinic

Get in touch with Shepherd Center’s Complex Concussion Clinic by calling 404-603-4314 or emailing us at cccadmissions@shepherd.org. Our hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our address is:

Complex Concussion Clinic
Shepherd Center (off-campus location)
80 Peachtree Park Drive
Atlanta, GA 30309

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