Finding Prevention for Concussions in Youth Sports
With the recent dateline documentary on concussions in youth sports, a lot of momentum has been gaining for concussion awareness. The topic has been for the most part, brushed under the carpet, in past years, and not addressed. This may be in a large part due to the competitive nature of athletes to compete and stay in competition regardless of the toll it takes on their bodies. The growing incidence of concussions in youth sports, as well as high school, collegiate, and professional levels, has made the topic begin to surface and demand answers and research.
A concussion is a disturbance in brain function that occurs following either a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head. There are many instances in all sports where this can occur. Some commonly thought of incidents include helmet to helmet impact in football, “heading” in soccer games, elbows to the forehead during basketball games, and many more.
Concussions in youth sports are a growing concern because of the global impact they have on child and teenage athletes later on in life. Many young athletes aren’t taken off the field because they aren’t cleared by a physician, but because of the symptoms they experience after sustaining a concussion. Chronic migraines, headaches, sensitivity to light, learning disabilities, lacking of normal cognitive function skills, etc., commonly cause athletes to not only be able to continue sports participation, but in addition drastically effect their activities of daily living.
There are some mainstream concussion screening protocols, including the IMPACT testing modules, SCAT tests, and other cognitive testing methods to evaluate an athlete’s capacity to return to the playing field. These tests focus on some preventative measures, but for the most part are based solely on evaluation of an athlete after a concussion.
Coming to the mainstream light is the preventative screening for concussions by upper cervical doctors. These are doctors of chiropractic who specialize in head/neck alignment at the upper neck area. The delicate balance that exists between the 10-15 lb. skull and the top two vertebrae of the neck has a direct effect on the balance of the body as a whole, particularly the muscles of the neck. If head/neck alignment is compromised from past trauma, accidents, and injuries, this creates stress in the neck. If this stress is present for a prolonged period of time, weakness and breakdown is much more likely, and the risk of concussion can increase drastically.
Upper cervical doctors take a very specific set of upper neck x-rays that show to the ¼ of a degree the imbalance in the upper cervical spine, and the risk of neck injury. Because of the specific analysis, a very precise and gentle correction can be given to the athlete without any manipulation, popping or cracking. This correction brings the head back to the center of gravity in the body, removing all adaptive stress below in the neck, shoulder, low, hips, knees and ankles.
As more and more incidence of concussion in youth, collegiate, and professional sports is seen, more solutions are also coming to the surface for preventative measures. Upper cervical doctors are becoming a household name for safe, gentle and effective concussion prevention.