Advancing understanding of concussion recovery

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A social enterprise entrepreneur who was recognized among the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2012, Kanika Gupta (in photo) is using art to express how she has re-conceptualized life following a brain injury.

Kanika lives with post concussive syndrome (PCS) which affects between 10 and 20 percent of those who have suffered a concussion. It occurs when an individual continues to experience symptoms past the usual trajectory of recovery, which is one to two months.

When Kanika suffered a concussion after hitting her head in February 2013, she was expected to recover in two days. Now nearly five years later, she continues to experience persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, chronic headaches, and sensitivity to noise, light, and smell.

These limitations have led Kanika on a fulfilling path where she is applying her experience to a new-found passion for visual art, writing and storytelling. She embraces her platform as a conceptual artist to create dialogue and generate greater compassion and understanding for those who find that recovery is not a destination, but instead an unexpected journey that can unveil new possibilities.

Read more at about Kanika and her art exhibition titled ReThink Recovery 

Dr. Mark Bayley, Medical Director of the Brain and Spinal Cord Rehab Program at Toronto Rehab, and Kanika's physician, now also leads the Hull-Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic that recruits patients within 24-48 hours post injury to learn more about the normal trajectory of recovery and what factors lead to a worse prognosis.

"PCS is a very controversial syndrome because we don't know exactly what causes the prolonged symptoms or why it happens," says Dr. Bayley. "If we could recognize someone like Kanika, who is going to have persistent problems, perhaps we could offer different interventions from the start to prevent persistent symptoms."

Opened in February 2016, the Hull-Ellis Clinic at Toronto Rehab is studying the use of innovative assessment techniques and treatments—such as early education about self-management of post-concussion symptoms—to promote recovery. The Clinic is named after hockey legends Dennis Hull and Ron Ellis, in recognition of the $700,000 in funding support raised at the 2014 TWIINS Gala in their honour, and was supported by this year’s Toronto Rehab Golf Classic.

Toronto Rehab is home to the number one rehabilitation research centre in the world and is truly Where Incredible Happens. To ensure that the best proven rehabilitation research, technology and care are available to our patients and the community now and in the future, Toronto Rehab has launched a historic $100-million fundraising campaign. Learn more