As I write this blog, I am on holiday in Amsterdam with family. When walking around the city. the most well-known and obvious sight is the number of people on bikes. In fact you have to look out for bikes more than cars when crossing the road. It’s obvious that bikes rule in this city, in road etiquette and just by shear numbers. These bikers are an institution here who demand their right to the roads and they seem to have it.

With my safety-conscious, physiotherapy eyes, I realized that no-one was wearing a bike helmet. People were happily listening to music, having a cigarette in some cases; mothers with children on the front of their bikes, also without helmets; women in nice clothes and high heels. Coming from Toronto where there has been prolific media coverage of head injury and concussion, it seems to the on-looker, that we are worlds apart? I wont know the answer to this as I am only here for 4 days and likely will not have the opportunity to talk to locals.

So this holiday observation brings me to the subject of concussion injuries and what to do about them. A concussion injury is an injury to the brain and can happen to any one of us from a fall or car accident. It can cause problems with memory, balance, concentration, judgement, and coordination. It definitely needs medical attention from a doctor. I would strongly recommend anyone in this situation to ask their doctor to refer them to a specialist clinic that specializes in concussion and head injury. These clinics usually have a multidisciplinary team that you need for assessment, counselling and management of your concussion. There are some tests that need to be performed to measure the recovery process and its unlikely your family doctor will do these. There may also be other injuries as a result of the same injury and this is where physiotherapists come in. I am a big believer that patients find the best advice for any type of injury and have their family MD refer them to the specialist of their (the patient) choice.

For muscle and joint injuries you can go to any physiotherapist but for the concussion I have listed below two options of speciality clinics. It is best to work with a therapist who is part of the multidisciplinary team. Once you are well on your way to recovery you can start getting back to your usual work and sport activities. Waiting for the right recovery signs will allow you to heal faster. This is something you don’t want to brush-off. Maybe our Amsterdam brothers and sisters shouldn’t be brushing off bike helmets!

About the Author

Damian Wyard trained is a Registered Physiotherapist and Stott Pilates Rehabilitation Instructor with 20 years experience in his field. He is the owner of Pilates4Physio in Toronto. You can reach him privately at, or at his Pilates studio