Traumatic Brain Injuries in football

Summer is almost over and high school football teams are starting camps all over the country. Whether the players have been training to make the varsity team, preparing for a state championship, or trying to impress college scouts, it now comes down to how they perform. Their training may help prevent non-contact injuries to the knee or ankle, but what about the head? Injuries to the head can cause far worse damage then one might think. Anything from experiencing no symptoms at all to life-altering traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

What used to be the most overlooked part of the body (in terms of training) until recent NFL lawsuits is starting to become a focus point of companies around the country. Companies are claiming that their products might help reduce the chances of sustaining a head injury or speeding up the diagnosis process. Are these products worth the money? It’s hard to say but something that might help player safety that doesn’t cost a penny is awareness.

The more we know about traumatic brain injuries the better we can prepare our athletes and the faster we can diagnose an injury to ensure that they aren’t playing through it. According to the CDC, older adolescents (15-19 yrs.) are some of the most at risk age group to sustain a TBI. What does this all mean in terms of football?

What kind of hits can cause a TBI? It can be anything from major hits that cause unconsciousness to a normal tackle or block to the helmet. It is still difficult to determine the amount of force and direction from which the blow comes from that causes these brain injuries. When these injuries occur, specifically in football, they may cause symptoms that players can often point out but don’t want to admit to the coaching staff in fear of being benched. Besides those symptoms that appear right away, other symptoms might not arise for days to weeks after the initial injury. This makes it difficult to pinpoint the cause.

Sustaining a traumatic brain injury during football, specifically youth football, can have long-lasting effects. We’re hearing more and more that kids are hiding their symptoms to be able to keep playing either out of fear or competition. Doing this can have life-long effects on their health, and it’s not just a knee that can be repaired, it’s their brain. This can be enhanced by the fact that football players are continuing to hit harder at younger and younger ages while the brain and skull are continuing to develop.

Treatment

Nothing. After being diagnosed with a concussion or TBI the best thing to do is nothing. The obvious things to refrain from include physical contact and activity but some of the other not so obvious are limiting the amount of time that your brain is being used. That may include time home from school, studying, etc. Continue to stay in contact with your doctor or physician as every person is different in how they recover and are effected by a brain injury.

Prevention

Trying to find ways to reduce the risk of your son sustaining a brain injury while playing football besides abstinence? Be sure that their helmet they are using fits correctly and continue to check the fit after games as it may loosen.

If you have further questions as training camps continue and the season nears, please contact us at info@makovickapt.com or give us a call at 402.934.0045. Do everything you can to prevent a traumatic brain injury.

Balance problems or at risk of falling?

Balance in Every Day Life

Has it been hard to stand or walk without feeling like you’re going to fall? Do moving objects in your visual field mess with your balance? We often take our balance for granted until we experience trouble getting out of a chair, walking, bending over to tie your shoes, or holding your kids or grandkids.

There are a few different systems that help tell us where our body is in relation to our environment that gives us a stable stance whether we’re standing or walking. We like to think of these systems as the three legs of a tripod. They all work together to keep us from falling or feeling like our balance is off.

Feel like you could benefit from physical therapy just for symptoms like these? Visit us at makovickapt.com

Visual System

One of them includes our visual system (our eyes) and tells us what the environment around us is like and what obstacles we may encounter. Often taken for granted, the eyes provide a large amount of information and takes into account what we are focused on as well as what is in our peripheral field (ambient vision).

Proprioception/Somatosensory System

Another system includes the proprioceptive/somatosensory system that tells us where our body is in space. The proprioceptive system uses sensory information that come from within the body. For example, if we hold our right arm above our head and close our eyes, we still know that the right arm is raised from information sent to our brains from sensory nerves. So if you think about walking or standing, we don’t really look at our legs when we’re walking but rely on the proprioceptive information from our legs to tell us where they are.

Vestibular System

The third one is the vestibular system, which has a lot to do with balance portion of our movements or stance. This system resides within our inner ear and as our head moves (along with our body) we receive information as to what direction and how fast or slow we’re moving. It doesn’t just help us with posture or stance but tells our eyes what they should be looking at and where to look next. Can you imagine how this might affect our balance if it were somehow “off” or not working right?

Typically these three systems are healthy as we’re young and can diminish in acuity as we grow old. Injuries to the head that we might sustain during sporting events or car accidents can also have an impact on these systems. These injuries are known as traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and sometimes can be tough to diagnose as they may not present themselves right away.

Balance and Vestibular Therapy

Some of the conditions that may be treated by balance and vestibular therapy include:

  • Movement Disorders
  • Chronic Mobility Disorders
  • Neuro Degenerative Disease
  • Fall Risk Identification
  • Dizziness/Disequilibrium/Vertigo
  • Vestibular Disorders
  • Orthopedic Injuries
  • Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)
  • Migraines
  • Head Injury/Concussion
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Worker’s Compensation

If you feel that you could benefit from physical therapy that is designed to treat these problems in balance then please give us a call or stop by any one of our locations below. Ask for Erin Bryant as she is one of our physical therapists that specializes in the different balance and falling disorders.

90TH STREET CLINIC

Location: 4201 North 90th Street
Omaha, NE 68134
Phone: 402.934.0045
Fax: 402.934.6562
Click here for directions.

HOURS:

Monday through Friday
7:00 am – 6:00 pm

MAPLE STREET CLINIC

Location: 3830 North 167th Court
(northeast corner of 168th and Maple)
Omaha, NE 68116
Phone: 402.502.2290
Fax: 402.505.3922
Click here for directions.

HOURS:

Monday through Friday
7:00 am – 6:00 pm

PAPILLION CLINIC

Location: 8419 S. 73rd Plaza, Suite 104
Papillion, NE 68046
Phone: 402.991.2745
Fax: 402.991.2748
Click here for directions.

HOURS:

Monday through Friday
7:00 am – 6:00 pm

PACIFIC SPRINGS CLINIC

Location: 1021 S. 178th Street, Suite 101
Omaha, NE 68118
Phone: 402.933.3036
Fax: 402.933.3163
Click here for directions.

HOURS:

Monday through Friday
7:00 am – 6:00 pm

MILLARD CLINIC

Location: 6909 S. 157th Street, Suite E
Omaha, NE 68136
Phone: 402.933.5448
Fax: 402.933.5449
Click here for directions.

HOURS:

Monday through Friday
7:00 am – 6:00 pm