What are Concussions and how can Athletes prevent them?
Concussions have become a regular event in sports. It seems like every day you read about an athlete that suffers a concussion and has to be held out from practice and competition, so what exactly is a concussion?
Concussion comes from the Latin word “concutere” which means to shake violently. A concussion is the most common type of traumatic brain injury. There is no exact medical definition for concussion as different physicians have varying opinions on what constitutes a concussion. It is clear however that the varying opinions agree that a concession leads to neurological impairment. It is also agreed that there are varying grades of concussion severity and I have added the table below.
The loss of consciousness following a blow to the head is the best symptom that a concussion has occurred. If there is no loss of consciousness then the following symptoms might indicate a concussion:
- Worsening Headaches
- Repeated Vomiting
- Excessive Drowsiness
- Blurred Vision
- Slurred Speech
- Physical Rest: It is recommended that the patient doesn’t participate in physical activity until all symptoms have been resolved.
- Cognitive Rest: It is recommended that the patient reduce activities which require concentration. These activities include video games, schoolwork and text messaging.
- Rest in a Dark area: it is recommended that the patient rest in a dark area to further speed up the recovery process. Light is a stimulus, which sends information to the brain that the brain has to process.
Rehab for Athletes After Being Symptom Free:
The 2008 Zurich Consensus statement on concussion in sports recommends the athlete progressing through the following steps before a return to competition.
- Complete physical and cognitive rest: The athlete is to rest and not conduct any physical activity until they are symptom free for 24 hours.
- Light aerobic activity (less than 70% of maximum heart rate).
- Sport-specific activities such as running drills and skating drills.
- Non-contact training drills (exercise, coordination, and cognitive load).
- Full Contact practice.
- Return to competition.
How to Reduce Concussions in Athletes:
- Studies have shown that strengthening neck muscles helps reduce the risk of concussions. Watch the following videos for exercises can help strengthen your neck:
- Get a lot of rest.
- Avoid activities that require concentration.
- Don’t train until symptoms have been completely resolved.
- Slowly ease your way back into training , don’t jump right in.
- Be careful , once you sustain a concussion, you are more at risk of suffering another one.
Contact me any time to schedule a free 15-minute consultation, so we can discuss your particular situation and goals.