Heads Up: Safety Tips for Concussions

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Portrait of active boy catching baseball in the countryside

It’s springtime here in Western New York, and for us that means spring sports – for us horseback riding- has begun! With spring sports in full swing here, we wanted to reach out regarding something a bit serious for parents with children in sports – concussions. According to the CDC, 4 to 5 million concussions occur annually, and that number is rising among middle school athletes. Meg Furstoss, MS, NSCA-CSCS and Andrew Borsellino, MS, NSCA-CSCSNASM-PES, the founders of Precision Sports Performance are on a mission to ensure all parents and guardians are equipped with the right information. Below are Meg’s and Andrews top four tips when it comes to a concussion.

  • Understand the Symptoms. Many children who are diagnosed don’t experience a loss of consciousness. Instead, look for the main three symptoms: headache, nausea and sensitivity to light and/or sound. Children can have a hard time vocalizing what they are feeling, so asking the right questions is the first step.
  • Establish Base Line. Not all injuries occur on the field. In fact, some children might develop a concussion on the playground or following a heavy fall. A concussion is defined as any knock or blow to the head that temporarily disrupts the cerebral function. While this injury is usually temporary, establishing baseline test can help parents identify if the recent injury is a concussion. It’s unfortunate that testing is not mandatory in all states and only high school student athletes get one. Since each concussion injury is different, having baseline numbers BEFORE an injury takes place provides for a more accurate result.
  • Neckercise. Your neck has muscles just like the rest of your body. Properly targeting those muscles will make your neck stronger and potentially decrease the risk of developing a head injury. All student athletes should work with a licensed strength coach who can properly teach muscular neck strength and techniques on how to fall correctly and withstand a game day blow.  
  • 48 Hours. After any head injury, seeing a medical professional trained in concussion management is critical within the first few days. PSP has a partnership with Dr. Kulin & Associates. Many concussion specialists are not readily available to see patients quickly. PSP is helping to make it more accessible. Any appointments booked through PSP will be evaluated by an expert from Dr. Kulin’s staff within the timeframe. 
  • Return to Play. Many student athletes often don’t report their true symptoms and return to the field too quickly. This could lead to more injuries. There are six steps that every parent should follow BEFORE allowing their child back on the field.
  • Step 1: Physical Therapist give green light to begin strength and condition straining
  • Step 2: PSP (condition coach) gives the green light
  • Step 3: Physical Therapist final evaluation
  • Step 4: Concussion doctor/specialist final clearance
  • Step 5: Practice with the team on the field
  • Step 6: Game Day

MEG FURSTOSS

Founder, Managing Partner + Strength and Conditioning Coach

Megan is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having been in the field since 2006 upon receiving her B.S. in Exercise Science from Ithaca College, her CSCS through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and an M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Northeastern University in Boston. Megan combines her science and physiology background in every program she designs. Her meticulous programming and application of the science behind sport as it relates to each athlete’s biomechanical and physiological makeup has aided her athletes in receiving collegiate scholarships and countless accolades.

Megan’s extensive research and experience in the field is evident. She worked with the United States Air Force and Army in Colorado Springs, CO and Natick, MA as a research physiologist. The results of her research at both the United States Air Force Academy/ Pike’s Peak Labs in Colorado Springs, CO and the Natick Labs in Massachusetts have been published in the American College of Sports Medicine and other scientific journals. During her time at The United States Air Force Academy she worked with a number of cadets during their physical conditioning testing and training. Additionally, Megan served as the Metabolic Specialist at Aviator Sports in Brooklyn, NY where she worked with NBA draft picks.

 

What sports do your kids play?  Have they ever had a head injury?

Comments

  1. Annemarie LeBlanc says

    This is a very helpful post. It would be so scary for both kids and their parents to have to experience this. I think the best route to take is to see a doctor after the child suffered a blow to the head or had a hard fall. Better safe than sorry.

  2. Catvills says

    Great article! My kids are actively involved in sports and them having to suffer from concussions is my biggest worry. I always follow the 48 hours rule. And take them for assessment to make sure there is nothing worse.

  3. CourtneyLynne says

    Ughhh concussions can be super dangerous! I was a competition cheerleader when I was in school and so many girls would get a concussion from falling ect

  4. says

    I used to live in Western NY for at least 7 yrs. Perfect weather on summer and a best time to get active. I don’t have any kids yet but this post is a great source of knowledge and worth saving for the future.

  5. says

    My kids don’t play sports, but eve if kids don’t play sports, they could experience a head concussion. My nephew was goofing off with friends ended up on the bottom of a pile of boys and received a concussion.

  6. Catvills says

    My children play baseball. God forbid that they suffer a head injury! I always tell them to be careful, but accidents can happen and it is good you shared the signs to look out for when you suspect your child has had a concussion.

  7. Jessica W. says

    My son plays soccer and baseball, but never had a head injury thank goodness. These are great guidelines to follow. Thank you!

  8. says

    Concussions are so scary! My nephew got one playing soccer and the coach never even took him out of the game. He was different for a long time after…his memory was really bad for awhile and he was just not himself. Coaches need to get better education apparently!

  9. says

    We’re in the middle of baseball season. My kids played so many sports in school and so did I. Now, the grandkids are playing and these are wonderful tips. Concussions are no joke and every parent and coach need to understand the symptoms, etc.

  10. Rebecca Swenor says

    This is a great post on safety tips for concussions. It is so important to learn about the concussions and injuries our children can encounter before they join the sports. Don’t get me wrong sports are great for everyone but we just need to learn to prevent them. Thanks for sharing the information.

  11. says

    I know concussions are such dangerous things. You can be in shock when you have them. And I know that it personally killed my uncle when I was but six weeks old. It affected my family forever. Definitely people need to take precautions and be aware.

  12. Ali Rost says

    I’m so glad you’re talking about this .. the effects of concussions seem to be in the news more and more lately. Even though our bodies are resilient .. the fallout can last a lifetime.

  13. Stephanie Jeannot says

    You make me realize how much I need a deep tissue massage. My neck is a little stiff right now. Could use some pressure relief.

  14. Pam Wattenbarger says

    It is so important to be aware of concussions. They are really common and you don’t want to miss the signs!

  15. says

    My son had a concussion a couple weeks ago. It was very scary for us because he was slurring his words and not able to tell us what exactly was wrong. This is a very good post with lots of great guidance.

  16. says

    My kids do swimming and bowling right now with their schools. We still have to read and sign off on concussion waiver and what to look for. You can never be too careful though right?

  17. Chasity L Boatman says

    Concussions are the main fear I have in my son playing a sport like football. I live in Texas, so football is life here, but I’m not sure that the risks outweigh what he would get playing the game.

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