Five ways concussion awareness has changed over time:

 

  1. Then

A player took a hard hit and got their bell rung. The coach would ask them what day it was, check their pupils, and ask them if they knew the score. If the eyes looked good and they answered the questions correctly, the player was sent back into the game.

Now

Players are pulled out of the game if a concussion is suspected and they are able to return to play when they are cleared by the proper health care professional.  The majority of Colorado High Schools have an athletic trainer on staff and a team doctor on the sideline.  These providers are educated in sideline concussions using assessment tools including Vestibular/Ocular-Motor Screening (VOMS), Balance Error Scoring System (BESS), and Sports Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT III)

  1. Then

Coaches, players and fans celebrate great hits regardless of the outcome of the player’s physical health.

Now 

Football players are instructed to tackle with their head up.  NFL players are penalized and fined when hitting a defenseless player.  NCAA football requires players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders to be automatically ejected from the game and the team suffers a 15 yard penalty.  USA hockey has increased the initial checking age in youth hockey from 12 to 14 years old. Players are not allowed to check before that. US soccer has banned heading the ball for any player under 11 years old.

  1. Then

Parents were instructed to wake their children with suspected concussions every hour.

Now

If athlete is suspected to have suffered brain trauma they are evaluated by a doctor at the first opportunity. There is no reason to wake up the athlete every hour for a concussion.  The goal now is to get the athlete back to their normal sleep pattern to support recovery.

  1. Then

Concussions were graded on a scale.

Now

The doctor performs an exam that details medical history, signs and symptoms of concussion, loss of consciousness, amnesia, and conducts a cognitive exam.  Dynavision is part of this assessment. We hope to have a baseline test in place for each athlete in order to be able to assess post head trauma concussions.

  1. Then

Providers recommended complete physical rest and cognitive treatment and spending time in a dark room, sometimes for months on end.

Now

New research is revealing that doctors are moving toward a more proactive form of treatment.  Treatment looks at the neck muscles, cervical joints, balance, vision, stress and cognition.  Treatment options are Gyrostim vestibular therapy, Dynavision, vestibular rehabilitation, infrared light therapy, neurofeedback therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

We strongly believe at NeuraPerformance Brain Center that all athletes should have a baseline test in place before the season begins.  This expedites the assessment process in the event of a head injury.