Concussions: A Mom’s Perspective

It’s official, the 2017 High School Football Season has begun!  Watching my Son play football under the Friday night lights is one of my favorite things to do this time of year. His commitment, his dedication, and his hard work are paying off. Involving our children in sports has always been a priority in our family.    The commitment provides an opportunity to gain greater self-awareness, develop better social skills and commit to a consistent exercise regimen. Becoming actively involved in a sport provides a wealth of health benefits.  Playing a sport can improve efficient functioning of the heart, improve blood circulation, lower hypertension, and lower stress levels. Being part of a team also teaches so many valuable life lessons such as commitment, comradery and mental and physical toughness.  We can do great things when we keep up our physical and mental well-being!

  Although I enjoy watching my son progress and excel at his favorite sport, the sport itself is downright dangerous.  I worry about the next practice, the next play, the next hit or even the after effects of it all.  Last season, I received the call that my son, during practice, took a very hard hit to the head.  It was the second week of football practice and already my son had been hit so hard that he suffered a loss of consciousness, confusion, blurred vision, and a constant headache that would not ease up.   Although there were very real signs and symptoms of a concussion in my son’s case, that may not always be the case.  Often times, the signs and symptoms are subtle and are not always apparent immediately.   Concussions can happen in an instant. Yet they can have a lasting impact on a young athlete.  It is Important to know the warning signs and follow through with a treatment plan to reduce long-term effects. Your brain can heal itself.  However, just because your athlete may feel better doesn’t mean that the brain is healed.  According to Dr. David Hardy, Chiropractic Neurologist at Functional Endocrinology of Ohio, the brain takes time to heal.  Often times the brain compensates during the process and if not properly diagnosed and treated may lead to a more severe concussion to follow often resulting in worse damage than the first.

Be aware of the signs:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or confusion
  • Trouble thinking or remembering
  • Speech problems
  • Feeling sleepy or a change in sleep pattern
  • Loss of consciousness (This doesn’t always have to happen)

Know what to do:

  • Seek medical attention, get checked out to assess the extent of the concussion. Become as involved as possible in the care and management plan to help prevent or lessen the long-term effects or injury.
  • Rest
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Seek neuro-rehabilitation. A trained functional neurologist is the best.
  • Keep open communication with your player. Make sure they know how important it is to communicate all symptoms

We are very fortunate to play for a high school program that provides our players with state of the art equipment and a professionally trained staff.  At the start of the season, players were all given base line testing or a preseason physical of the brain which records the normal neurological state.  In Sam’s case, the high school athletic department, trainer and coaching staff followed the proper protocol.  I know that I can’t shelter or protect my son but I will make sure to be equipped to recognize the signs and symptoms and know what to do in the case of an unfortunate head trauma or even a hard hit.

The most important way to equip your player is to encourage that they do not hide their symptoms.  Make sure that they know to report their symptoms to the high school trainer, coaching staff and parents.  Make sure that your player is always wearing protective gear.  If signs or symptoms are present, get checked out.  Whenever there is doubt, encourage them to sit out.

I feel very fortunate to work for a team of doctors committed to overall health and well-being.  This year, Dr. David Hardy, DC, DACNB, FABBIR joined our team at Functional Endocrinology of Ohio with an extensive background in Functional Neurology.  As an athlete himself, who competed in competitive rugby, high school football, and basketball, as well as Ironman competitions, his passion is treating all brain-related conditions but especially TBIs and concussions.  Even though I will always worry about that next practice, next hit, next play or even the after effects of it all, my doctors have educated my son and me about the proper protocols.  Because of this knowledge and guidance, I will know what to look for and how to aid in the recovery process.

When it comes to concussions, be aware and use your head!

Joy Vale
Patient Care Coordinator
September 6, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio

Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.

 

What is Really Causing Your Balance Problems

Do you ever have difficulty walking or maintaining your balance? Are you afraid of falling if you don’t have something to hold onto? Have you noticed that your stance is wider than it was? If you close your eyes, are you unable to stand without swaying or falling?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you have a balance issue which is a warning sign of compromised brain health.  Three main systems govern your balance: feedback from the muscles and joints of your extremities, your vestibular system (inner ear), and your cerebellar cortex. In this post, I will direct our focus to the cerebellum.

  Located at the base of the brain, this area is primarily responsible for precision, coordination and timing aspects of motor movements and cognitive processes. The health of the cerebellum is extremely important as it provides a constant flow of information to other areas of the brain, which is vital for proper brain function.

When cerebellar function begins to decline we see problems in our balance, changes in cognitive and motor performance, and disturbances in other body functions. This also disrupts the constant flow of information from this area to other brain regions. This can, in turn, cause problems in other areas of the brain leading to seemingly unrelated symptoms, including anxiety, fatigue, restless leg syndrome, movement disorders, depression, and many other conditions.

Therefore, changes in balance and coordination of movement are carefully evaluated by a healthcare professional. Recognizing these potential signs of poor brain function may help find and stop long-term neurodegenerative conditions down the road.

Dr. Joseph M. Little
August 30, 2017

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060

Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, Dr. David Hardy, Dr. Joseph Little, Chiropractic Physicians

To schedule an appointment, click here.