Online Appointment Requests

For convenient scheduling, request an appointment online.

POA’s Athlete Comeback of the Month: Matt

Matt Blackmon has had a passion for sports since the beginning. From the young age of five, Matt has been playing competitive hockey, baseball, and basketball plus enjoying highly-active hobbies such as skiing, snowboarding and Tae Kwon Do (he’s a black belt!). It’s clear that athletics have always played a significant role in Matt’s life.

But in January, while competing in a hockey game, Matt was injured and immediately hurried off the ice by the Kirkland Fire Department. He was rushed to the ER where he was examined for a concussion and back injury. Not long after, Matt was released from the hospital with a concussion. Fortunately, Matt had previously had concussion baseline testing (a preseason exam used to assess an athlete’s baseline brain function in case of injury) completed with one of our sports medicine doctors, Dr. Ty Jones, which would be helpful later on in Matt’s healing process.

While fairly common, affecting nearly 3.8 million athletes in the United States per year, concussions can be very disruptive and interfere with a student athlete’s academic, social and athletic lives. Symptoms may include headache, dizziness, nausea, vision and balance problems, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and other frustrating symptoms. The brain needs extra rest after these injuries to heal and allow symptoms to resolve. While the brain is recovering it is more easily overwhelmed by mental and physical exertion, and returning to contact sports too early can put a recovering brain at risk for an even more significant injury or even death. Returning to school can be challenging and may require planning between the medical team, parents and the school to support the recovering student. If they can successfully “return to learn” and feel back to normal after a few days of school, athletes can slowly begin their return to their sports.

In Matt’s case, when he was feeling back to normal and able to do his schoolwork without any symptoms, he worked with the sports medicine team at Proliance Orthopedic Associates, his parents and his coach to work through a customized return-to-play protocol specific to hockey. He first demonstrated an ability to do light aerobic activity without symptoms, then advanced to skating and light resistance exercise, non-contact ice hockey drills, then finally, limited contact drills. Matt felt great and was able to perform these non-contact exercises and skills without recurrence of his concussion symptoms so he returned to the Sports Medicine clinic prior to being cleared for full contact. His doctor confirmed that his neurologic exam was normal (including Matt’s balance and visual tracking), and then computerized ImPACT (Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) was performed. This is a tool that tracks memory, reaction time, and visual scores to help the sports medicine team to assure that if a student has a concussion they are back to their normal brain function before being released back to contact. Once the test showed that Matt was back to his baseline he was released back to a full contact practice. Practice went without a hitch and he was able to start at his next game.

Matt, a true comeback kid, has been doing great post-concussion and looks to finish his hockey season strong. In his first game back from his injury, he played against the best team in the league, scoring a goal and assist in the first game and a goal in the second. Matt and his family are very thankful that they had baseline testing done because it gave them and Dr. Jones what they needed to help get Matt back on the ice quickly and safely and back to the activities that he loves. According to Matt’s mother, “I highly recommend all athletes get the baseline testing done. You never know when you might need it.”

Concussion baseline testing is available with Dr. Ty Jones at Proliance Orthopedic Associates in our Renton, Covington, and Maple Valley locations. To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic doctors, please contact us today at 425.656.5060.



4011 Talbot Rd S #300
Renton, WA 98055

Phone: 425.656.5060
Fax: 425.656.5047


27005 168th Pl SE #201
Covington, WA 98042

Phone: 253.630.3660
Fax: 253.631.1591

Maple Valley

24060 SE Kent Kangley Rd,
Maple Valley, WA 98038

Phone: 425.358.7708
Fax: 425.656.5047

Latest POA News

  • Exciting News from our Covington Location

    Our POA team has always loved serving the Covington community, so we are excited to announce that on April 16th, we will be expanding our Covington footprint! Currently, the POA Covington location has a clinic for our orthopedic doctors on the second floor and MRI services on the third floor. This spring, we are aiming …

  • What’s New in Knee Surgery

    The following article is written by Andrew Merritt, MD. This month in KSSTA, Kim et al. investigate the outcomes of ACL surgery in patients with hyperlaxity. Hyperlaxity is defined by having joints that are “extra-mobile” and present sometimes as “double-jointed.” Most commonly in young females, we frequently see athletes with hyperlaxity that sustain injuries to …

  • The Final Stage of ACL Recovery: Preventing Another Injury

    The following article is written by Andrew Merritt, MD. Anterior cruciate injuries (ACL) injuries continue to increase as people are playing more competitive, year-around sports. One of the most important aspects of recovering from ACL surgery is to prevent the injury from happening again. Most ACL injuries occur from pivoting during sports and not from …

Dr. Barrett's Blog

  • The Importance of Physician Assistants

    There are over 1 million hip and knee replacements performed in the U.S. per year and this number is expected to increase significantly over the next decade. There is a finite number of orthopedic surgeons trained to perform this kind of surgery, and that number is not increasing at a rate to keep up with …

  • Managing Your Pain After Joint Replacement Surgery

    At POA, we use multimodal pain management for your joint replacement. This begins with preoperative medications given in the pre-op area, spinal anesthesia, and use of regional and local blocks about your hip or knee. Following your surgery pain is managed during your overnight stay by the nursing staff at the VMC joint center. This consists …

  • VMC Center for Joint Replacement: Recognition, Results and Future

    As we start 2018 we are proud of being ranked #1 for joint replacement in Washington State by CareChex Quality Rating System. They use a variety of quality metrics to achieve their rankings, including: quality, performance and safety analytics. As the first joint replacement center in the state, we continue to evolve our delivery of …