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-CSCS, NASM-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
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?