What is a concussion?
Basically, a concussion occurs when trauma to the head and neck causes a vigorous, unnatural impact to the brain. In most cases, the side-effects of a concussion are short-lived and appear as a headache. However, in some situations, a concussion may result in impaired brain function.
How do you prevent a concussion?
Besides wearing a helmet, it’s crucial for children to learn neck-strengthening exercises. The strength and stability of the muscles of the neck and trunk will help minimize the impact of injuries and the likelihood of concussions in high impact sports like football and hockey.
For children (and young adults) participating in sports, an evaluation from a licensed physical therapist can help determine potential areas of weakness and instability. Information from the evaluation will help your physical therapist design a neck-strengthening program that can help avoid serious injury and possible concussions due to weak neck muscles.
What is the damage caused by a concussion?
Concussions can be detected years after they occur in MRI scans as ‘white spots’. The meaning of these spots is often debated, along with the long-term impact of a concussion.
Regardless of the severity of concussions, you want to minimize them as much as possible. Concussions have been known to cause temporary visual impairment, speech impairment, balance issues, memory loss and other problems. How long these effects last depends upon the severity of the concussion and the time between when the concussion occurred and when it was treated.
Physical therapy can help
Your physical therapist can work closely with other health professionals responsible for your child’s safety. The therapist can help your child by creating a structured, personalized neck strengthening and core strengthening program. This will minimize the risk of concussions. If your child works closely with a coach, a trainer and a physical therapist, he or she will be able to handle the physical stress associated with the sport.
When it comes to the head and neck region, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth (more than) a pound of cure. Give our office a call and set up an appointment to discuss how we can help your young athlete be safe and injury free.