The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the first set of guidelines allowing parents the information and tools they need to spot possible concussions from youth sport activities in their children. Between you and me, it's about time. That being said, let me start with going over some of the basics; A bit of Mansplaining (my wife's term not mine).
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Most importantly, they are the most significant cause of TBI's in Americas youth. These 'concussive events' in our youth sports occur through simple impacts of head and to some degree, any sizable impact that causes the brain to wiggle back and forth impacting the skull like Jello smashing up against a glass container. This is what creates a concussive event leading to a TBI. One thing that is important to remember when it comes to how hard an impact may or may not have been; There are no tools that allow medicine to determine a value or measurement of an impact and how it equates to the measurement of neurological destruction, every situation is different, every patient is different.
Why are concussions so harmful?
The major concern regarding any concussive event, is the sensitive nature of neurons. They are very sensitive to physical impacts. Making matters worse, any impact that ends up causing a neuron to die, initiates a protective inflammatory chemical chain reaction. As a result, this chemically induced cascade creates more and more neurological destruction.
The study of this reaction is in its infancy. However, what we do know is that a good clinical workup is the best choice to document what systems of the brain have been effected. Allowing clinicians to provide tailored clinical program that will certainly reduce the impact of a concussion. As a result, we can help reduce recovery times and any long term damage. The final and most important item to note, on average about 10,000 neurons die every day on their own regardless of any injury. The body recovers this daily 'die off' of neurons through the process known as neuroplasticity creating more complete and healthy connections. As a result, this plastic growth is responsible for creating who you are as a person that develops over time.
Why is knowing important?
Teens that play while healing from a lingering concussion have a much greater risk of having a more significant concussion with the same impact. Consequently, these repeat concussions are believed to be much more serious and affect your children over their lifetimes.
How can you keep your children safe?
Sports are a fantastic, healthy outlet for anyone, let alone your children. Similarly, I am not an advocate of hiding your children in room to keep them safe. I have had so many concussive events I can't even remember. Yes, that is supposed to be funny. Here are the direct recommendations from the CDC to help your children stay safe:
- Help Create a Culture of Safety for the Team.
› Work with their coach to teach ways to lower the chances of getting a concussion.
› Emphasize the importance of reporting concussions and taking time to recover from one.
› Ensure that they follow their coach’s rules for safety and the rules of the sport.
› Tell your children or teens that you expect them to practice good sportsmanship at all times.
- Signs Observed by Parents
› Appears dazed or stunned.
› Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
› Moves clumsily.
› Answers questions slowly.
› Loses consciousness (even briefly).
› Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.
› Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
- Symptoms Reported by Children
› Headache or “pressure” in head.
› Nausea or vomiting.
› Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
› Bothered by light or noise.
› Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
› Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
› Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down.”
How we can help!
At Flathead Chiropractic we offer the ability for your children to get the neurological evaluation needed following a concussive event, allowing your family to take a positive direction. This includes, many advanced clinical assessment tools and nutritional guidance intended to measure performance and improve the recovery rate. We will give your children the best treatment program possible helping them to get back to being themselves. Call into our office if you have any questions regarding our TBI Assessment Program or if you want to make an appointment please call our office at (406) 314-6314.