Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Alicia Quella


Sports-related concussions (SRC) affect millions of athletes annually in the United States. This complex injury can cause variable short-term symptoms for the athlete and the long term sequalae of these injuries can be devastating depending on the severity. Concussion management guidelines for collegiate athletes are managed and distributed by the NCAA, and have historically used rest as one of the mainstays for treatment of SRC followed by a stepwise, progressive return to activity, the classroom, and ultimately to the sport which has been utilized as a safe protocol for rehabilitation after this injury. A literature review was done using PubMed and Google Scholar to assess the available research studies on the effects of using different methods for rehabilitation for athletes, specifically exercise. An interview was conducted with Chris Ashton, MS, ATC to gain insight into the current practice knowledge of SRC management. The protocol that is currently in place continues to include a short period of rest (24-48 hours) with a progressive, symptom-limited return to activity before returning to sport, but targeted approaches in rehabilitation such as moderate exercise have been shown to be likely safe and beneficial for an athlete, especially with symptoms of cognition, fatigue, anxiety, migraines, as well as postconcussion syndrome. New trends are emerging in the research that are demonstrating the advantage of utilizing an overall individualized, symptom-limited, comprehensive but targeted approach to rehabilitation (including exercise) for athletes who have sustained an SRC, and there are numerous future areas to be explored on this topic.