Posts Tagged ‘concussion’

Concussion Recovery Tips

concussion recovery

Concussions are scary, but recovering from a concussion can be boring. You’re confused, you don’t want to do much, and you’re probably a little unsure of what to do and what to avoid. And recovery times can vary greatly.

Luckily, many people have gone through what you’re doing, and many medical experts have good advice about your recommended activities following a concussion. Here are some of them. Concussions are a pain, but there are good steps you can take to ensure your recovery is as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Stay Home From Work

You may not be sick, exactly, but a concussion is a very good occasion to use your sick time. Stay home from work. Rest is one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you are recovering from a concussion.

Going to work, on the other hand, is probably a bad idea. Working your brain will slow down your recovery time. Doctors suggest you take it easy. You should listen to your doctors. And if your boss is skeptical about your request, remind her or him that the work you would do if your did come in would be sub-par because your mind is not fully functioning. Stay home from work if you’ve got a concussion.

Get Some Light Reading Done

This advice is not for everyone. Doctors advise people with concussions to avoid straining their minds, and for many people, reading of any kind is work. But for serious readers, some light reading might be a good idea.

Just make sure you stick to the easy stuff. Intellectual strain is not recommended for concussion sufferers, so you’ll want to avoid highly technical or complex literary works. Grab some easy beach reading and enjoy.

Eat Up!

Eating is a great way to pass the time, and a concussion is a perfect opportunity to lay off your diet. Ask a trusted person to pick up some good grub for you while you recover. Don’t feel guilty about overeating; you’re in recovery, and some extra calories might give your body the energy it needs to get some extra clean-up work done.

Remember, though, that cooking is a complicated task. Don’t work too hard to get your meals. Order in, or ask a spouse to whip some food up for you.

Take Naps

Nothing rests your mind like sleep. Sleep is the ultimate way your brain has to shut off and build up energy. Doctors recommend that concussion sufferers get an abundance of rest, and napping is one of the best ways to do that. Keep in mind that many medical professionals recommend staying awake immediately after the concussion causing impact itself; speak with your doctor to find out when you should start sleeping.

So get comfy, curl up with your pets and a warm blanket, and take it easy. This will speed up your recovery, help you to put your thoughts together, and avoid doing anything silly in public. Concussions leave you confused, and you will almost certainly want to take lots of naps. Listen to your instinct and get some sleep.  

 

Protecting Our Young Football Players? Brain Injury

football brain injury

Would you let your child play football?

That’s a hot question these days as information about long-term medical problems among former players in the National Football League continues to be emerge.  The NFL recently agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of former players suffering neurological problems. The players claim that the league knew of the potential risk of brain damage due to repetitive concussions, but did little to prevent the injuries from occurring.

Some former players link their current medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and other neurodegenerative diseases to their football playing days.

The barrage of recent media coverage regarding the NFL lawsuit is shining a light on the dangers of the sport and making parents across the country wonder whether the risks are worth it.

Study Shows Higher Risk of Brain Injury

A recent study in the medical journal Neurology suggests that professional football players are three times more likely to have such conditions as the general population. The study, which appeared last year, surveyed nearly 3,500 retired NFL players who were in the league between 1959 and 1988.

The league has taken major steps in recent years to make the game safer for players, both in terms of equipment and protocol. In the past, though, when a player got his “bell rung” and stumbled dizzyingly to the sideline, he was sent right back into the game as soon as possible, exposing the player to further head injuries.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between Little League and the NFL. The massive size, speed and power of players at the highest level is in no way comparable to young kids just picking up the sport in elementary school. You won’t see the kind of violent collisions in Pee Wee games that you do on Monday Night Football.

On the other hand, there’s also a big difference in the quality of protective equipment used by pros versus youngsters. Whereas qualified medical staff is always present at practices and games for college and pro teams, that’s not the case for younger players.

Undeniably, football at any level is violent. To “shake off” on injury and get back in the game is seen as admirable.  That’s just part of the culture of the sport —whether it’s the New York Jets or a Pop Warner team in Columbia, South Carolina. Taping an ankle and limping back out there to the applause of the fans is one thing. Returning to the game once you’ve “shaken the cobwebs” after a blow to the head is an entirely different matter.

Football Remains Popular Despite Injury Risks

Most youngsters who play football don’t sustain serious injuries, although almost everyone who plays long enough will get a little banged up from time to time.  It’s hard for a parent to draw the line. Head injuries, however, aren’t as easy to detect as a twisted ankle. A bruised brain poses a much greater risk for problems down the road.

Maybe youth leagues are safe but reservations start to creep in along about the junior high or high school level as the size, speed and power of the players increase. Regardless of the dangers, the sport remains a popular activity among young people. It is estimated that 3.5 million kids play in youth leagues and one million play in high school.

But how risky is it? A group of researchers in Virginia and North Carolina is hoping to shed some light on the subject, according to an article in Technology Review.  The researchers studied a high school team and two youth teams, including children aged 6-18, during a season. The researchers outfitted their helmets with accelerometers and more than 16,000 head impacts were recorded and measured during the 2012-13 season. Players were given pre-season and post season brain scans and neurological tests to review any changes in the brain. Results are still being analyzed.

Tools to Identify Players in Danger of Brain Injury

The researchers hope to develop tools to identify when a football player has been hit hard enough, or frequently enough, to risk a concussion or other brain injury.

The decision can be a tough one for parents. Most of us want our kids involved in extracurricular activities and believe participating on an athletic team builds confidence and discipline. We may wonder whether football is really more dangerous than soccer or skateboarding or surfing or driving a car or other activities. Many of us have fond memories of Friday nights under the lights and feel like a hypocrite denying the same experience to our children.

Still, keeping our children safe is a fundamental task as a parent. Each family must consider the pros and cons and make a decision that’s right for their child.