As a former contact sport athlete and health care practitioner, the subject of concussions and traumatic brain injury (TBI) hits close to home for me. Obviously as a former athlete sports are near and dear to my heart, but I can’t deny that the rate at which athletes are getting concussions is alarming. I will not tell you whether or not you should or shouldn’t play certain sports, that decision is best left to the athlete and the athlete’s guardians. However, I will share with you some of the latest research in concussion prevention training and techniques. If this prevents even one concussion or TBI from happening, it will be time well spent. I urge athletes to make these a daily part of their training regimen.
The following is a great list of simple exercises to help prevent concussions.
- Shrugs – Use either dumbbells or barbells
- Supinated Dumbbell Shoulder Press – Use lighter weight as this places a lot of stress on the glenohumeral joint
- Lateral, Forward, Backward, & Rotational Cervical Resistance Exercises – This is arguably the most important exercise on the list. You can either push into a partners hand, or place a swiss ball against a wall and push into that!
Finally, something you may not have thought of. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have been training athletes in concussion prevention by training their peripheral vision. The six year study recently published its results, and they are both promising and impressive. In fact, the rate of player/athlete concussion has dropped a whopping 80%! It seems that sensory-neuro input may have a very significant impact on concussion prevention.
The training is done by having the athlete face a special board with multiple lights arrayed in a asterisk type order. The athlete stares at the center and then one of the lights illuminates. The athlete then has to touch the light and catch a small ball thrown by a partner or trainer coming from his or her periphery.
The research is being headed by Joe Clark a PhD professor in the Department of Neurology. If you’re interested in learning more a simple google search should bring up plenty of information!
That’s all for this blog post! I wish every athlete the best of luck and the best of health in his or her upcoming season, and as always, if you have any neurologic or musculoskeletal pain or dysfunction, feel free to stop into our clinic or give us a call at 952-300-2050!
Elevate your health today!