2505 – Improving Brain Trauma Function

Intermediate / Pool Workshop


Dallas, TX / Saturday, September 21, 2019 – 8:00 am-12:00 pm – 4.0 credit hours

(Classroom: 8:00-10:00 am / Indoor Pool: 10:00 am-12:00 pm)


Faculty: Mary Wykle, PhD, ATRIC



The complex actions of the brain and areas affected are specific to each diagnosis while all involve the entire brain in some manner. The brain accounts for about 20% of calorie expenditure despite making up only 2% of body mass. It has little tolerance for waste or excess. We now know that every part of the brain is always on active duty. The typical neuron fires about once every second and no part of the brain can withstand more than trivial damage without a loss of neurocognitive function. Improving function addresses cognition and movement. The interconnection neurologically and physiologically, although specific, share the impact of the blood flow to the brain. Research shows the impact on cognitive and motor skills when immersed to chest depth in the water. The question that this course will attempt to answer is to determine what path to pursue in each of the diagnoses identified and what benefit is possible to achieve. Brain trauma affects not just the aging population, but trauma suffered by children and sport concussive activities by teenagers and young adults. Evaluating this course requires two perspectives: diagnoses such as stroke, PD, and MS; trauma from impact to the head; and strokes in conjunction with medical conditions that may lead to strokes, i.e. CVA, HBP, cerebral aneurisms, daily physical functioning. It is important to evaluate how being in or consuming water affects the brain. How does being around watery environments support our mental health and well-being? How do water, water exercise, water views, water sound help to heal our minds from the effects of chronic stress, depression, and other illnesses?



1)  Recognize and understand basic brain function and how deficits impact all aspects of daily life.

2)  Gain a basic exposure to current research associated with the use of aquatic interventions for TBI and other brain-related disorders.

3)  Examine the progressive disease processes associated with TBI, Parkinson’s, CVA, Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and MS.

4)  Explore common muscular dysfunctions associated with brain-related disorders to assist in providing appropriate treatment progressions.

5)  Provide therapeutic exercise interventions with specific emphasis on aquatics that address those specific movement impairments associated with TBI and various other brain-related disorders.

6)  Determine appropriate aquatic equipment usage with therapeutic exercises to address various movement impairments associated with TBI and other brain-related disorders.


FACULTY: Mary O. Wykle, PhD, ATRIC, presents for ATRI and AEA. Course development includes aquatic re-conditioning programs for the Army and USMC. Additional programs include Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi™, Core Stabilization and Safety Training. Aquatic recognitions include: AEA Global Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010); ISHOF Adapted Aquatics Award (2007); ATRI Aquatic Professional of the Year (2006); ATRI Tsunami Spirit Award (2004) and ATRI Dolphin Award (2002).