AUGUST 26, 2015 BY JOE RUZICH, PT
As football season rapidly approaches, concussions are always a concern for parents, athletes and coaches. Reported adolescent head injuries and concussions are on the rise over the last few years. Concussions or head injuries can occur at the blink of an eye, especially if your child is involved in a high impact sport like football. The University of Michigan Health System and The Centers for Disease Control both reported that approximately 3.8 million Americans suffer concussions just from sports injuries every year. Keep in mind there are many other ways to get a concussion other than sports such as motor vehicle accidents and falls.
What is a concussion?
The brain inside the skull is like the gelatin in a plastic bowl. When an impact or high velocity injury occurs, the brain slams into the inside wall of the skull. This can lead to a change in the brain’s chemistry or energy supply. In many instances of getting a concussion, the side-effects are mild, short in duration and “headache-like”. But, in some more severe cases, the concussion may result in longer term abnormal brain function.
What are the symptoms of a concussion?
Concussions can cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, problems with balance, memory problems, confusion, headaches, nausea or vomiting, slowed reaction to stimuli, sensitivity to light or noise, lack of energy and other problems. Emotionally, a person who has experienced a concussion may feel sad, nervous, anxious or easily upset/angered. Many people associate a loss of consciousness with a concussion, however a loss of consciousness may or may not have occurred. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and how soon the concussion was treated after it occurred. The symptoms may begin immediately or they may take months to develop. The long-term impact of a concussion is often debated.
How can you prevent a concussion?
Wearing a helmet is the obvious way to prevent a concussion however, it’s also crucial for children to learn upper trunk, posture and neck-strengthening exercises. If the muscles of the neck and trunk are strong and stable, the likelihood of concussions and injuries in high impact sports such as football are less. Teach your child early that a helmet is not an option but is required for participation in the activity. When using protective headgear is instilled at an early age, the child will be more likely to utilize a helmet as they grow older. Start early with this rule and be consistent. You child’s head, brain and overall safety is at stake.
For the younger population active in sports, an assessment at Synergy Physical Therapy & Wellness and Wellness can help find out regions of the body which could use stability and strength training. Our adolescent sports injury program is performed by a licensed physical therapist. The tests and measurements performed will be used to develop a customized and individualized strength and stability program that can aid with injury prevention and even prevent concussions caused by in part weak core musculature.
Whether it is to promote injury prevention or if it’s to treat headache, dizziness or pain after the concussion…we are the local therapy experts in Pueblo CO. Call us at 719-568-9790. You only have 1 brain!