Our Story

Over the past few years, media coverage and research have been significantly improving for the identification and awareness of concussions.  However, this same attention has not been paid to the recovery post concussion.  Through their practices in concussion specialty clinics, Lauren and Melinda identified the gap in our industry when it comes to the question: “How do we best treat these people now that they’ve been diagnosed?”

More concussions are being diagnosed than ever before but now that people are being diagnosed they lack a clear direction on how to heal and move forward.  The co-founders realized there had to be an easier way to get the newest and best supported information out to the masses.

As a result, Phoenix Concussion Recovery was born.  This website features evidence-based, research and clinically supported information and has been created for concussion education and identification as well as recommendations for early management.  We launched the beta version of our Return to Life & Sport Exercise Program Summer 2017.

As Melinda begins to work towards retirement, Lauren has taken over Phoenix, but they continue to work together in the care of patients via their separate telehealth platforms. This collaborative partnership is active and thriving today.

The separation has allowed Lauren to provide physical therapy services remotely via telehealth AND allowed her to expand into her dream of turning Phoenix into a continuing education platform for concussion, long-COVID, and autonomic disorders (dysautonomia). Her goal is to end the education gap and train as many therapy providers in her novel treatment strategies as possible.

Check out the news coverage of our founders

Meet The Team

Lauren Ziaks, PT, DPT, ATC

Co-Founder & President

Lauren was raised in the small town of Windsor, Connecticut but always dreamed of the city lifestyle leaving for Boston, Massachusetts for her college education.  She earned her Bachelors Degree in Athletic Training and her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Northeastern University.

Lauren worked as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer for Northeastern University Volleyball prior to moving into working as a Lab Instructor for both the Physical Therapy and Athletic Training Education Departments at Northeastern University.

After experience in football ranging from small Division 1 teams to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) to the Arena Football League, she joined the US Skiing and Snowboarding Association as a Team Therapist.  She experienced the evolution of sport concussions through her growth as a young professional.  Starting as an Athletic Trainer, identifying concussions was a part of her early education.  However, she always felt there could be more done in treatment and the return to sport process.  As concussions finally became better understood and better respected, she was already leaving the sports world for private practice.

Once in private practice, her focus shifted to solving the “Concussion Problem” following her own head injury.  Lauren suffered a severe concussion/TBI and was underwhelmed with the treatment options available.  After learning of evolving treatments not present in her own community, she realized her new mission had to be improving treatment for concussions.  Lauren specializes in prolonged recovery (>3weeks-15years+) of mTBIs.  She specializes in a new field of concussion management and has led an incredible team in the development of an integrative and progressive novel treatment strategy building from the foundation of Brain Body Integration (primitive reflexes) to vision and vestibular therapy now published as the ZINC protocol.  Lauren’s passion and drive to help others sharing her same misfortune led her to create and direct the  new Concussion Management Program at Wasatch Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine.  She recently transitioned to the Intermountain Park City Hospital* in Park City, Utah to help grow their concussion programs. Since 2019, Lauren’s focus has expanded into the evolving world of dysautonomia and she has had the privilege to spread awareness and build new structured intervention protocols now released as the Utah ADaPT protocol, which is undergoing further validation studies. In the process, and piquing her personal interest, Lauren’s mystery illness of 12 years was diagnosed as POTS and she was able to experience the protocol from early development as a patient first to help create a new treatment paradigm. The identification and management of this “missing piece” in her TBI journey has led to a quality of life she did not previously believe would ever be possible.

Lauren lives with her husband, Scott Trapani, and their furry baby Theo, in Utah.  They have since been able to expand their family to include their one son after many health challenges along the way. They enjoy camping, hiking, and skiing and all the snuggles with the little one they can get in their free time!

Check out the links in “In the News” to learn more about Lauren’s story.  Remember, there is no deadline on recovery and the good providers can always make life even just a little bit better no matter how far post injury you are!

To learn more about Lauren’s novel treatment methods for concussions, visit our continuing education platform.

*Intermountain Health is not involved in this website and does not sponsor any content*

Melinda Roalstad, MS, PAC

Co-Founder & Vice President

Melinda was raised in Boulder, Colorado and attended the University of Colorado for her Bachelors Degree in Psychology, the University of Miami, for her Masters Degree in Exercise Physiology.  She returned to Steamboat, Colorado to work in human performance and training athletes for a variety of sports from which she began training athletes for the US Freestyle Ski Team.  She then expanded her expertise for strength and conditioning training with ski athletes in joining US Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) as Assistant Director of Sport Science from 1990-96.   Following the Lillehammer Olympics, looking to combine her physiology background with medical health and wellness, she returned to academics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where she obtained her Physician’s Assistant Degree.  She spent 2 years expanding her medical care training working in a Wyoming rural health care setting before returning to USSA in 1998 to establish and develop an in house medical program for USSA athletes.  As the former Medical Director for the US Ski & Snowboard Association from 1998-2006, she established multiple support mechanisms; systems, policies and procedures to support the health, wellness and medical care for ski and snowboard athletes.  The management of mild head injury was a significant issue requiring appropriate guidelines and defined stepwise process to return to competitive sport. In her tenure, also the Secretary of FIS Medical Committee, she established both USSA and FIS guidelines for concussion management.  She has a long history working with management of concussive injury in sports.

Upon her departure from USSA and return to primary care medicine in 2007, she observed a lack of direction in youth sports at that time for specific guidance in appropriate return to sport oversight for young athletes.  Think Head First, LLC was born as a passion that Melinda had to provide expertise in concussion management that was being utilized in elite athletics to much needed younger up and coming athletes as well as any individual suffering from concussive injury.

Melinda, along with Wain Allen, M.D., formed Think Head First, LLC in 2009 to enhance awareness for concussive injury and help educate schools and sports organizations and employers about concussion management as well as provide a specialty practice to offer a multidisciplinary integrative approach to the care and management of the recovery process from concussive injury.

In her leisure time, Melinda enjoys being outdoors with her doggies, camping, hiking, mountain biking, skiing and gardening.  Melinda has recently left primary care medicine to focus full time with Think Head First.