Heading in the right direction: New concussion treatment centre to open in Sherbrooke

Photo: Gordon LambiePhoto: Gordon Lambie
By: 
Gordon Lambie
Staff Writer

Jocelyn Thibault, former NHL hockey player and owner of the Thibault GM Sports Complex in Sherbrooke announced the opening of a new APEXK-certified concussion treatment centre within the complex on Thursday morning.

“This is a very happy announcement,” Thibault said, emphasising that as a former professional sports star he has seen the negative impact of concussions first-hand and has no desire to see young people engaged in the sports they love destroy their lives through untreated head injuries. “Back then we just played with a headache, but we live with the consequences now.”

Thibault was joined in his announcement by David Tinjust, APEXK founder, who explained the technology and team that will be at work now in Sherbrooke. APEXK, he explained, is a Quebec-based organization that works to complement the work of doctors when it comes to rehabilitation after a concussion. Through a range of sensory feedback tools, APEXK clinics are able to assess and work to improve the condition of those who are suffering from post-trauma vision syndrome, a visual and cognitive impairment often seen in association with traumatic head injuries.

“30 per cent of the brain and 55 per cent of a person’s neural connections are linked to vision,” Tinjust said, explaining that impairment or injury of these sections can cause life altering negative consequences. He also added that, “not having symptoms does not mean that you’re ready to get back in the game.”

Though not the only technology in the world dedicated to rehabilitating people with head-trauma related injuries and conditions, Tinjust said that the APEXK approach and tools provide the fastest and safest return to service based on experiences to date with NHL and NFL players. The Neuroscientist emphasized the“safest”part of that combination, stating that the focus in rehabilitation should be on long term success and not on short-term patches. He pointed out that since the technology relies on sensory input for its diagnostic tools, it is more reliable in determining the extent of damage in individuals who may have learned what answers a diagnostician is looking for in a verbal questionnaire. The system, he said, allows for the clinic to follow a player from a chair right back onto the ice in as little as eight weeks with significant improvement in outcomes.

Manuel Breton and Sébastien Cherreau, osteopaths who will be involved directly with the Sherbrooke clinic, said that the approach is far more complete and measurable than others in the field at the moment and provides for a clearer picture of what needs to be improved at any given time in recovery. As a result, the response on the part of doctors can be tailored to specific needs over time and the overall recovery is more effective.

Tinjust added that the amount of measurable data that can be collected through the work has attracted the interest of researchers at both McGill and the University of Montreal looking into concussion treatment and prevention. The APEXK founder underlined that the tools that are being brought to Sherbrooke have a wide range of potential applications outside of the sporting world as well and emphasized that the overall goal is a contribution to long-term global recovery for anyone whose life has been affected by a head trauma.

More information about APEXK is available on the organization’s website: http://www.apexk.com/

The Sherbrooke concussion treatment centre will be reachable by calling 819-780-4216.

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