An exceptional passer, ex-NY Jets quarterback, Joe Namath is known for setting seasonal and career records for most games with 300 yards or more gained in passing. Joe Namath says his health problems are tied to concussions from his playing days; he blames the concussions for long-term brain damage. Although helmets can protect against skull fractures and more serious brain injuries, they cannot prevent a concussion. There is no such thing as a minor concussion.
There are many indicators of concussions. Appropriate diagnosis, management, referral, and education are critical for helping athletes with concussion so they may achieve optimal recovery. Even for the trained professional, a concussion can still be difficult to diagnose. If you suspect someone has been concussed, look for any one or any combination of the following signs and symptoms: thinking deficits, lack of sustained attention, a confused mental status, amnesia, dazed look or a vacant stare, a slurred or incoherent speech, vomiting and/or nausea, slow motor and verbal responses, emotional liability, memory deficits, poor coordination, dizziness, headaches, restlessness hyperesthesia’s / neurasthenia. Late concussion symptoms (which could be days or even weeks later) include: persistent low-grade headache, light-headedness, poor attention and concentration, memory dysfunction, easy fatigue ability, irritability and low frustration tolerance, Intolerance of bright lights and/or difficulty focusing vision, intolerance of loud noises– tinnitus, anxiety and/or depressed mood and sleep disturbances. For more examples: www.sportsconcussion.com. Always remember that if someone has not been rendered as unconscious it doesn’t mean that they have not been concussed.
Education, prevention and preparedness is the key to help keep athletes safe season-to-season. The following is a list of just a few of the concussion courses available online:
Great news for student athletes in Prince William County: concussion training is mandatory. Before allowing students to try-out or practice, they’re taught by certified athletic trainers how to recognize signs and symptoms as well as recovery from a concussion. The Student-Athlete Protection Act (SB 652), Virginia’s concussion law, passed unanimously by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Bob McDonnell on April 11, 2010. So why does this matter? Specific guidelines “ensure that student-athletes who sustain concussions are properly diagnosed” and are given adequate time to heal. This protocol is necessary for athletes, coaches, trainers, doctors, physical education teachers and parents to know and practice. Most importantly: a concussion should never be trivialized or ignored. For full details: VA Board of Education Guidelines for Policies on Concussions in Student-Athletes.
For other sports related questions feel free to contact Dr. Carmelo F. Caratozzolo, 703-491-9355, www.actwellness.com. Dr. “C” is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician (CCSP). His office address: ACT Wellness Center, 14111 Minnieville Road, Woodbridge, VA.