“A Hard Whack to the Noggin” A Blog on Concussions in Albertville MN

“A Hard Whack to the Noggin” A Blog on Concussions in Albertville MN

head pain concussion

It is one of the hottest topics in recent American sports media...

..and it is a parent’s worst nightmare; concussions. If you’ve witnessed a head injury while enjoying a sporting event in Albertville MN, you understand what I mean. You’re closely watching the play, some unfortunate event happens and after all is said and done, a lifeless body lies on the playing surface. After having this experience during a routine drill at a routine hockey practice a few months ago, I was dealt a slap in the face of the reality of just how serious the concussion issue can be.

In a 2011 study published by the American Journal of Sports Medicine that included U.S. High School who staffed at least one athletic trainer, it was found that concussions accounted for nearly 15% of all sports-related injuries that resulted in at least one lost day of participation. Although there is no certainty, research indicates that the long term effects of concussions likely contribute to development of permanent brain diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s and dementia. Furthermore, it seems that each week we hear about athletes involved in contact sports that suffer from various mental disorders ranging from early onset Alzheimer’s to severe depression.

Many of these athletes are being diagnosed with a condition that is being titled “Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.” According to the Center for the Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is associated with symptoms of memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, impulse control problems, aggression, depression, and, eventually, progressive dementia.

A concussion occurs when significant impact causes the brain to crash into the skull with enough force to cause injury.

This injury will cause symptoms that range from mild to severe. These symptoms can include headaches, blurry vision, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, balance issues, sensitivity to light or sound, personality changes, inability to focus and concentrate and even an increase or decrease in sleep requirements.

The diagnosis of a concussion involves only the identification of how the injury occurred and the presence of symptoms. CT scans and MRIs are not required for diagnosis, but they do aid in ruling out the possibility of other serious injuries.

Recently, there has been a call for all athletes to participate in Base-Line Concussion testing. One of the common tests is called the “imPACT Test.” This testing was developed to help physicians diagnose as well as make informed decisions on allowing athletes to return to play. These tests are performed before the season, and they are administered following a head injury to evaluate the cognitive function of the athlete. It allows the physicians to compare each athlete to him or herself, rather than to what is assumed to be ‘normal’ for a general population of athletes in a similar age range. Although the tests are not used as a stand-alone diagnosis assessment or return-to-play tool, they are a very useful tool in making informed decisions.

When treating a concussion, it is recommended that athletes should be sure to rest as much as possible.

Also, the athlete should avoid vigorous physical activities as well as activities that require mental activity until the athlete is asymptomatic; this includes testing. According to Regional Orthopedics, avoiding stimulation is believed to allow the brain sufficient rest to heal the injury. Most schools have policies in place that allow the student-athlete to make-up any material that is missed while treating a concussion.
As we dive head first into the winter sports season, I urge parents to have their athletes participate in Base-Line Assessment testing and do not rush your superstar back onto the playing field. The testing is very affordable, typically between $10 and $20 per test, and its value in allowing a safe return to play is priceless. Remember that, although sports are a big part of a young athlete’s life, proper diagnosis and treatment of a concussion will ensure that they will be able to enjoy the rest of his or her life to the fullest.


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Summit Chiropractic and Wellness Center, LLC
10904 57th Street NE Suite 107
Albertville, MN 55301
(763) 515-6177