Concussion Awareness

The media is doing a great job making the public, coaches, teachers and athletes more aware of the real risks of brain damage from concussions but there is still a lot more work to be done.  Unfortunately it has taken some deaths or other serious permanent injuries from concussions to get the message out.  This topic very close to me since one of my school mates and friend, Rowan Stringer died two years ago from a second concussion playing rugby within a week.  I knew Rowan my entire school life and you never think accidents like this will happen to people you know.

As an athlete who competes on the World Stage myself, I have seen a huge change of protocol when concussions occur.  I just returned from the Taekwon-Do World Championships where there were quite a few knock-outs and hard hits to the head.  The medics and tournament rules are becoming more strict, stopping the matches immediately if the person was knocked out.  The rules have changed to disqualify any competitor for intentional knock-outs and the rules for continuing after any sign of head trauma have become more extensive and taken more seriously. The coaches and officials were much more knowledgeable.  Years ago, competitors would have just continued after a few minutes not really aware of the true risks involved but now, finally these circumstances are starting to be dealt with more cautiously.  With all the new research specifically on concussions,  new rules and laws are starting to change in all sports so I’m thankful for these changes.

Looking forward, with this new awareness comes opportunity to take further action.

For several years I’ve been going to Performance Sports Therapy to see Dr. Anthony Aiello (sports chiropractor) for all of my physio and sports injury needs. He and everyone there are absolutely AMAZING.  I like how they look at me as a ‘whole’ athlete not just for injuries.  The are working hard promoting their new additional program on concussions which I think will be extremely worthwhile.

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That clinic (Performance Sports Therapy)  in the Gloucester/Orleans area is an official Complete Concussion Management™ clinic offering Baseline Testing and Post-Injury Treatment for concussed athletes/students.

Here is a message from them:

As concussions have become the focus for both professional and amateur athletes around the world, we at Performance Sports Therapy wanted to be at the forefront of concussion diagnosis, management, and rehabilitation in Ottawa.  With our collaboration and education through Complete Concussion Management we now offer the very best in research-proven concussion treatments and rehabilitation.

 The biggest concern surrounding concussions comes from the energy deficit that occurs in the brain following injury.  When the brain is in this low energy state, it has been well established that the brain is extremely vulnerable to additional trauma, where even smaller impacts can lead to another concussion; and these second concussions can cause severe brain injuries with potentially permanent or fatal outcomes.

 The problem is that symptoms do not coincide with brain recovery.  The only way to know when the brain has fully recovered and out of this “vulnerable period” is to compare current brain function to when the individual was healthy; this is what is known as a “baseline test”.

 A baseline test is a battery of tests that measures every area of brain function that could potentially become affected following a concussion.  The reason that the test is termed a “baseline” is because it is done BEFORE the athlete gets injured.  In order to know when an athlete has fully recovered, we first have to know where they were when they were healthy.  Without having this information, there is no way to truly know when an athlete has fully recovered and is safe to return to their sport.  Baseline testing is the most important thing to get done prior to beginning your sports season on a yearly basis.

 For some reason, Baseline testing is not mandated in Canada (yet), however it will be soon and is already in many states in the US. 

Baseline testing and post-concussive treatment is covered my most health insurance plans and a receipt is provided after each visit. For more information, please email dr.anthonyaiello@gmail.com or visit www.PerformanceSportsTherapy.ca