Concussions

Types of trauma

Hard hits to the head are the most obvious cause of concern regarding concussions.  That being said often times it's repetitive smaller trauma that does the most damage.  Dr. Hal does not recommend that soccer players practice heading the ball or use that technique in games.  Dr. Hal also wants to remind you that giving your teammate even a light helmet-to-helmet celebratory tap can be dangerous.  

Whiplash is certainly a major contributor to concussions.  It is caused mostly by car accidents but any collision with speed that causes your head to snap or body stop immediately will cause your brain to crash into the sharp bony parts of the inside of your skull.  

Second-Impact Syndrome

 Research suggests that a person who suffers a second concussion before  the initial concussion has healed, has a 100% chance of permanent brain damage, and a 50% chance of dying. 

Symptom List

Headaches aren't the only symptom of a concussion.  Here's a comprehensive list.  Please download the SCAT 5 form at the bottom of the page for more info.

Headache, pressure in head, neck pain, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, blurred vision, balance problems, sensitivity to light and/or noise, feeling slowed down, feeling like 'in a fog', "don't feel right", difficulty concentrating, difficulty remembering, fatigue or low energy, confusion, drowsiness, more emotional, irritability, sadness, nervous or anxious, trouble falling asleep.  Also, the above symptoms typically get worse with physical and/or mental activity.  

Almost 70% of adolescents that have a concussion have visual issues.  Eye movements and focus are linked to the cervical spine and specific parts of the brain.  They are a "window" into what part of the brain has been most stressed and how it is able to process various stimuli.

Concussion-Vision Connection

The following behaviors could indicate that someone has a vision problem. If you have one or more of these symptoms we recommend a functional vision examination. 

Observable traits

  • Crossed or lazy eye
  • Frequent tilting of head to one side or one shoulder is noticeably higher
  • Excessive squinting, blinking, and/or closing of one eye
  • Places head close to book while reading
  • Poor visual/motor skills (“hand-eye coordination”)
  • Problems moving in space, frequently bumps into things or drops things, is “clumsy”
  • Difficulties catching and/or throwing airborne objects
  • Appears to favor the use of one eye
  • Burning or itching eyes, reddened in appearance
  • Headaches in forehead or temples
  • Exhibits posture problems

Behavior related

  • Short attention span
  • Nervous, irritable, or quickly fatigued while reading, looking at books, or doing close work
  • Displays signs of emotional or developmental immaturity
  • Low frustration level, doesn’t get along well with others
  • Experiences blurry vision
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Motion sickness
  • Double vision

Work Skills

  • Repeatedly confuses left and right directions
  • Holds the book or object unusually close
  • Twists or tilts head toward a book or object to favor one eye
  • Frequently loses place when reading or copying from the board or paper
  • Difficulty remembering what was read
  • Difficulty remembering, identifying and reproducing geometric shapes
  • Often reverses words
  • Uses finger to read
  • Rubs eyes during or after short periods of reading
  • Frequently skips words and/or has to re-read
  • Repeatedly omits small words
  • Struggles with handwriting
  • Moves head back and forth (instead of moving eyes)

Vision and Balance Therapy

Vision therapy:  A series of in-office and at-home activities and exercises designed to  improve the visual skills that have been affected by a head injury. In  some cases, the patient may just be given activities to be done at home.  In other cases, a combination of home and in-office VT will be  recommended. 

Balance therapy:


Helmets & Mouthguards

The VICIS Zero-1 football helmet  utilizes multi-layered technology that is designed to mitigate linear and rotational impact forces.  Research shows that this helmet is the most effective at reducing acceleration and deceleration brain injuries.  That being said, no helmet can prevent all concussions.          


 



more info later

more info later

SCAT 5: Sport Concussion Assessment Tool

The SCAT 5 is an assessment tool we use here at Back in the Game Chiropractic.  Please download and refer to PAGE 3 SECTION 2 "SYMPTOM EVALUATION" to learn more.  Concussions aren't just about headaches!  

Also extremely important is to reference page #8 for guidelines on when to return to school and sport activities.  SCREEN TIME MUST BE ELIMINATED OR REDUCED ESPECIALLY IN THE EARLY STAGES OF RECOVERY (NO VIDEO GAMES, VISUAL PHONE USE, YOUTUBE, ETC...)

SCAT5.full-1 (pdf)

Download