Through a series of blog posts, Certified Athletic Therapist - Alex Barton and Certified Cranial Sacral Therapist - Liw Bringelson will describe concussions, and explain what to do when you or your child is affected by one.
WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
An Athletic Therapist’s Perspective - Alex Barton
Being an Athletic Therapist, I deal with concussions on a regular basis. I am the first one out on the field to help the athlete. From there I determine based on a symptom list and using the SCAT test if the athlete can return to play or not. I work on the sidelines with high level athletes and coaches where the word ‘concussion’ is still considered taboo. I have heard coaches say, “Oh, he’s just seeing stars” or, “He just had his bell rung. He’s fine.” Some of them feel concussions are considered a sign of being weak, because “...back in their day they didn’t get them…” but concussions have been around since ‘back in their day’, there just wasn’t the research or knowledge that there is today.
New light is being shined on the subject, from many directions, including:
a Hollywood movie, Concussion (directed by Will Smith);
NHL news of players, such as Sidney Crosby suffering, and being sidelined by, multiple concussions;
stories about the impact of head injuries to athletes in high school sports.
Concussions are now an everyday topic. For example, Dr. Bennet Omalu (whose story was the basis for Will Smith’s movie) received a lot of attention for research and the discovery of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). He identified patterns of injury in the brains of retired NFL players. After they retired, they reported experiencing symptoms such as clinical depression, severe psychiatric problems, memory loss, personality changes and aggressive behavior. After they died, Dr. Omalu attributed these significant changes in cognitive and social behaviour to the multiple concussions each suffered throughout their careers. This emerging information has raised the bar on the importance of preventing, identifying and treating concussions in athletes, from youth to professional competitors.
What IS a concussion?
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. This injury can be caused by a direct, or indirect blow to the head, face or neck. The impact of the brain within the skull causes a series of complex pathological processes and chemical changes in the brain. These changes can cause depletion of energy in the system, among other symptoms.
Concussions are “invisible injuries” as they are not observable from the outside of the body. Furthermore, this type of injury cannot always be seen with diagnostic imaging and is normally diagnosed using the following list of symptoms:
Nausea or Vomiting
Loss of balance
Trouble focusing on objects or words
Amnesia, or poor memory
Blurred or double vision
Irritability or emotional changes
Ringing in ears
Slow to follow direction
Decreased playing ability
Difficulty falling asleep
Feeling “off” or not like oneself
These symptoms can occurs minutes after the initial injury and up to 48 hours later, making it very important to pay attention to how you are feeling after a head injury occurs. Diagnosis is critical.
At Synergy Health and Wellness Centre, we have an Athletic Therapist (Alex Barton) and a Craniosacral Therapist (Liw Bringelson) who bring skills and experience to assist in concussion and post-concussion syndrome management.
For more information about how we can help you or to book an appointment please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (705) 446-5828.