September 26, 2013
We’re approaching the halfway point of the high school football season and the competition level is as high as it’s ever been. The unfortunate thing is that brain injuries are starting to arise. These injuries can be difficult to prevent even if you’re doing the necessary steps (see below). The bad news is that we’re also hearing of players covering up their symptoms and not receiving the proper information on treatment. Injuries to the head can cause far worse damage then one might think. Anything from experiencing no symptoms at all (but still sustain a concussion) to life-altering traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
What used to be the most overlooked part of the body (in terms of training) until recent NFL lawsuits is starting to become a focus point of companies around the country. Companies are claiming that their products might help reduce the chances of sustaining a head injury or speeding up the diagnosis process. Are these products worth the money? It’s hard to say but something that might help player safety that doesn’t cost a penny is awareness.
The more we know about traumatic brain injuries the better we can prepare our athletes and the faster we can diagnose an injury to ensure that they aren’t playing through it. According to the CDC, older adolescents (15-19 yrs.) are some of the most at risk age group to sustain a TBI. What does this all mean in terms of football?
What kind of hits can cause a TBI? It can be anything from major hits that cause unconsciousness to a normal tackle or block to the helmet. It is still difficult to determine the amount of force and direction from which the blow comes from that causes these brain injuries. When these injuries occur, specifically in football, they may cause symptoms that players can often point out but don’t want to admit to the coaching staff in fear of being benched. Besides those symptoms that appear right away, other symptoms might not arise for days to weeks after the initial injury. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause.
Sustaining a traumatic brain injury during football, specifically youth football, can have long-lasting effects. We’re hearing more and more that kids are hiding their symptoms to be able to keep playing either out of fear or competition. Doing this can have life-long effects on their health, and it’s not just a knee that can be repaired, it’s their brain. This can be enhanced by the fact that football players are continuing to hit harder at younger and younger ages while the brain and skull are continuing to develop.
Nothing. After being diagnosed with a concussion or TBI the best thing to do is nothing. The obvious things to refrain from include physical contact and activity but some of the other not so obvious are limiting the amount of time that your brain is being used. That may include time home from school, studying, etc. Continue to stay in contact with your doctor or physician as every person is different in how they recover and are effected by a brain injury.
Trying to find ways to reduce the risk of your son sustaining a brain injury while playing football besides abstinence? Be sure that their helmet they are using fits correctly and continue to check the fit after games as it may loosen.
If you have further questions as training camps continue and the season nears, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 402.934.0045. Do everything you can to prevent a traumatic brain injury.
The Makovicka Difference
We are leaders in our profession, locally owned and operated by physical therapists who forge relationships with patients, and advocate for their care. All of our clinics have board-certified specialists on staff, meaning you get the highest level of care to maximize your recovery, and get you back to your game. We will listen, evaluate your symptoms, and create a personalized physical therapy program to meet your needs and improve your function, strength, and mobility.