Mike McDade, Professional Motocross Athlete, Tours UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

Mike McDade, Professional Motocross Athlete, Tours UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program

In a sport like motocross where crashes and collisions happen frequently, athletes should be aware of potential injuries and ways to prevent them. Concussions are among the most common motocross injuries and can significantly impact a rider on and off the track.

Mike McDade, a professional motocross rider, visited the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program to learn about the services offered and to walk through the evaluation process.

“Every time you get on a dirt bike, you’re at least going to crash once,” Mike shares. “It’s getting worse and worse with the speeds we’re getting up to now. The jumps are getting big. Everything is changing and progressing.”

Baseline Testing

Baseline concussion testing is a valuable resource for athletes of all ages, skill levels, and sports. It gathers data about an athlete’s cognitive functioning before any injuries are present.

This data becomes useful as a comparative assessment and diagnostic tool for a physician in the case of a suspected concussion. Baseline testing is recommended for motocross riders because of the risks of the sport, shares Patrick Huber, ATC, an outreach coordinator for the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

“Crashes occur frequently within motocross especially with the type of impacts they face whether through coming off the bike, [or] whether through practices or in competition. It’s always good to have that baseline so we can treat any injuries appropriately and get our athletes back onto the track as quickly as possible,” he says.

Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening

Our brain’s vestibular system helps us process movement and motion signals. When a concussion impacts the vestibular system, you may experience symptoms including:

  • Balance troubles
  • Dizziness
  • Motion sickness

Anne Mucha, DPT, and clinical director of vestibular therapy for UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, says that these symptoms can often be seen in motocross injuries.

“After a concussion, a lot of people have issues with their vestibular system. If you think about high velocity sports like motocross, they involve movement and a lot of that automatic processing of movement,” she says.

A vestibular ocular motor screening tests your brain to measure how the visual and vestibular systems are processing movement together. This testing method helps identify the severity of an injury and develop a personalized rehabilitation plan.

Clinical Exam

In the event of a suspected injury, we recommend an exam with a concussion expert to assess an injury or any changes in cognitive functioning. Mike McDade met with Micky Collins, PhD, clinical and executive director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program.

As seen in the video, an evaluation with our experts involves:

  • A basic symptom assessment
  • An explanation of test results
  • A discussion of overall health

Based on this comprehensive evaluation, our sports medicine team will put together a personalized plan to get the athlete back to their sport.

To learn more about motocross, visit the My Sport – Motocross page.

Visit our Concussion 101 and Our Treatment Approach pages to learn more about concussions and their treatment at UPMC Sports Medicine.