Concussions… Be ProActive, not Reactive!
Concussions happen more often in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, rugby, and basketball to name a few. These head injuries are largely underreported at the High School level due to lack of/improper training and education by coaches, athletes, and administrators. As the information evolution of MTBI (mild traumatic brain injury)/concussions occurs, more will be made available to the public for education to avoid more serious injuries such as an epidural/subdural hematoma or second impact syndrome, which has a 50% fatality rate.
Concussions occur from a blow, jolt, or force transmitted to the head, neck, face, or jaw resulting in a transient loss of neurologic function coupled with a change in one’s mental status (feeling foggy, confusion, irritable, anxious, fatigue). When this trauma occurs, it is absolutely necessary to first establish any first aid concerns. Once this is completed, the sports chiropractor, who contains experience and knowledge in concussion, administers the SCAT3 protocol, examining one’s balance, memory, concentration, and neurologic function, among other tests. These tests are to be performed once the patient is neurologically stable (awake, alert, no balance while walking off the field). If the patient suffered a loss of consciousness from the injury for any length of time, then, he/she is to be immediately transported via EMS to rule out a more serious injury. Also, the patient is not to allow to return to play until he/she is cleared in writing by the health care professional in a graduated 5 step process. This process takes about 7-14 days for much of the athlete’s symptoms to resolve depending on the severity of the injury. Even today, high school and/or amateur coaches will not have their athlete evaluated if he/she does not see the possible head injury transpire. Moreover, the athlete may not want to report the injury to a coach, teammate, or health care professional, to avoid missing time from playing/practicing. Because these injuries develop a cumulative impact, it is necessary to put the athlete’s safety first.
Sports chiropractors with training and expertise in concussion evaluation, management, and subsequent treatment are necessary to help athletes recover faster who compete in contact sports. It is important for you to find the health care professional in your neighborhood with this experience to get a baseline for your son/daughter prior to the season starting to begin the education process. Lastly, it is necessary for the coaches, parents, school administrators, and athletes to receive some basic level of concussion training in the offseason to avoid serious injury. Gathering these tools presents a safer environment for all involved should an injury like this occur.
Brian Marion DC, CCSP, ART, CKTP
Lincoln Park Chiropractic 2202 N. Lincoln Ave Suite 1 Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-2790 www.lincolnparkchiropractic.com