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Possible Lingering 2022 Injuries?
Super Dangerous Kids Sports Head Injuries, Strokes & BPPV!

© 2023 Health Realizations, Inc. Update

 

The following are what you want to be aware of and consider as to possible lingering injuries, and regarding registering your child for sports activities, if able. More than 55 percent of high school students participate in athletics, activities that can lend invaluable experiences in teamwork and dedication along with boosting self-esteem and physical fitness levels.

Those sports with the least to no head protected gear are soccer, gymnastics and surprisingly cheerleading reported to have the most injuries. Nearly all children's sports are a concern for many parents, while knowing the value of their children learning both the discipline and lasting teamwork-leadership benefits from participating in competitive sports.

Football is ranked the most popular sport for high school boys, with over 1.1 million high-school-aged participants across the country, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

Unfortunately, football also results in more direct catastrophic injuries than any other sport tracked by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research, and appears to be much more dangerous at the high school level than the college level.

High School Football Players at Increased Risk of Catastrophic Head Injury

While catastrophic head injuries such as brain bleeding and swelling are rare, a study published in The American Journal of Sports Medicine found its incidence is significantly higher at the high school level than the college level.

"High school football players have more than three times the risk of a catastrophic head injury than their college peers," says lead author, Barry P. Boden, M.D., from the Orthopedic Center in Rockville, Md., and adjunct associate professor at the Uniform Services University of the Health Science in Bethesda, Md., in Science Daily.

Further, the researchers found a high percentage of high school football players who had minor symptoms of neurologic injury from a previous head injury (such as a concussion) at the time of the catastrophic injury. Further points found in the study included:

  • 81 percent of the injuries were caused by helmet-to-helmet collisions and helmet-to-body collisions

  • 59 percent of those injured had a history of previous head injury (71 percent of which occurred during the same season)

  • 40 percent of injured athletes were playing with residual neurologic symptoms from a prior head injury

  • Of the 94 catastrophic injuries reviewed, 9 percent result in death, 51 percent in permanent neurologic injuries, and 40 percent serious injuries with full recovery

As for why high school players have a higher rate of catastrophic injury, the researchers suggested younger brains may be more susceptible to injury. Further, there are not as many team physicians on the high school level as the college level, which means it could be that high school athletes are not being properly evaluated or receiving the proper medical attention following an injury, Boden said.

“Having more team physicians for high school and younger sports teams who have training in current concussion protocols and management may prevent long-term consequences and improve healthy return to play levels appropriately”, stated Dr. Michael K. Bagnell, Fellow of the American Board of Brain Injury Rehabilitation.

It’s worth noting also that hemorrhage strokes, which occur when a blood vessel on the brain’s surface ruptures and fills the space between the brain and skull with blood, can also be caused by a head injury.

What about other head injuries, from soccer, cheerleading, gymnastics, wrestling, gym classes and even every day occurrences on playgrounds when they are added, the statistical percentage for a child to have a head injury skyrockets.

What Happens to Your Brain After a Head Injury?

In the event of a closed head injury, your brain collides with your skull, bruising brain tissue and tearing blood vessels. The rapid movement of your head may also stretch or injure your neuronal axons, which are nerve cells that link parts of your brain together, and link parts of your brain to other parts of your body. Such an injury tends to impact a wide range of functioning.

Brain injuries, whether mild or severe, all have the potential to impact the following:

  • Cognitive skills (concentration, learning to skills, attention span)

  • Speech and language skills

  • Personality (lethargy, aggression, mood swings, dependent behaviors)

  • Senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, touch)

For those who experienced a head injury long ago, researchers are realizing that the blow may long be forgotten, but the impacts could linger on.

For some, the head injury leads to irritability or depression, which turns into substance abuse. Others have a hard time juggling tasks throughout the day, and become disorganized, easily distracted or unable to hold a job.

In fact, according to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), one study found that 40 percent of people hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury had at least one problem that still lingered one year later. Most frequently, this was:

  • Improving memory and problem solving

  • Managing stress and emotional upset

  • Controlling their temper

  • Improving their job skills

What to Watch Out for if Your Child Has a Head Injury

If your child has a head injury while playing football or due to another circumstance, you should see your doctor immediately. Even if it appears mild, the full extent of a head injury may not develop for days, so you should continue to watch closely for symptoms.

If you notice any of the following, seek medical help immediately. Further, do not let your child participate in sports if they are showing signs of a head injury.

Why Some Experts State: "If Your Child Has a Concussion or Other Head Injury, Do Not Let Them Back Into the Game"

These are symptoms to watch for following a blow to the head:

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Problems concentrating

  • Memory loss

  • Difficulty collecting thoughts

  • Trouble walking (balance)

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Dilated pupils

  • Drainage of bloody or clear fluids from nose or ears

  • Weakness or numbness in limbs

 
  • Headaches

  • Lethargy

  • Balance

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Bad taste in mouth

  • Slurred speech

  • Ringing in ears

  • Neck pain

  • Anxiety

If you notice any of these seek medical help immediately.

Further, do not let your child participate in sports if they are showing signs of a head injury.

Why Some Experts State: "If Your Child Has a Concussion or Other Head Injury, Do Not Let Them Back Into the Game"

"The single most important piece of advice that I can give is to never let an athlete play football if he has any neurological symptoms whatsoever,” Dr. Boden told Science Daily. This could include amnesia, dizziness, headache, irritability, personality changes or any of the signs listed above.

"Football is a very macho sport. Athletes are taught to play through pain," Dr. Boden continued. "But concussions need to be taken seriously. Many of them are probably being overlooked at the high school level. These injured athletes are allowed to return to play before full recovery, leaving them susceptible to a more significant injury."

Highly Prevalent! Not Just Football!

More than 42 percent of Americans experience dizziness or vertigo during their lifetimes. Many suffer in silence, assuming there is nothing that can be done for the disarming feeling of spinning or falling off balance.

However, in about 20-50 percent of cases dizziness is actually caused by a disorder that’s incredibly easy, and fast, to treat -- once it’s diagnosed. If you or your child currently struggle with dizziness, you owe it to yourself to explore this condition, as it’s actually one of the most common causes of vertigo there is.

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPVV)?

BPPV causes mild to intense dizziness, which is often triggered by changing the position of your head (specifically, tipping your head up or down or lying down, turning over or sitting up in bed). Along with feelings of dizziness, you may also experience spinning sensations (vertigo), loss of balance, blurred vision, unsteadiness, nausea and vomiting. Abnormal rhythmic eye movements, or jumping of the eyes, are also common along with BPPV symptoms.

The Epley Maneuver: A Simple Treatment

A surgical procedure that involves using a bone plug to block a portion of your inner ear is sometimes recommended to treat BPPV, but make sure you do not consent to this treatment until your physician has tried a canalith repositioning procedure known as the Epley maneuver. As the Mayo Clinic states:

“Performed in your doctor's office, the canalith repositioning procedure consists of several simple and slow maneuvers for positioning your head.

The goal is to move particles from the fluid-filled semicircular canals of your inner ear into a tiny bag-like open area (vestibule) that houses one of the otolith organs (utricle) in your ear where these particles don't cause trouble and are more easily reabsorbed.

Each position is held for about 30 seconds after any symptoms or abnormal eye movements stop. This procedure is usually effective after one or two treatments.”

The Epley maneuver takes just 15 minutes for your physician to perform and may offer you relief to a problem that's been plaguing you for years. A recent study published in the journal Physical Therapy even found that the odds of resolving BPPV were 22 times higher among those receiving the canalith repositioning procedure than in people receiving a sham treatment.

Following the treatment, your physician will give you home-care instructions to follow. Generally, your ear must not move below shoulder level for the rest of the day, and you cannot lie flat. When you sleep you will need to elevate your head on several pillows or sleep in a recliner.

One of the best parts about the Epley maneuver is that your physician can teach you how to do it, so you’ll likely be able to correct the problem yourself at home should it reoccur.

If you know of a friend or family member who has complained of unexplained vertigo and dizziness, please forward this article on to them. By seeing a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about BPPV and the Epley maneuver, you may be able to find relief from chronic dizziness in as little as 15 minutes.

Identifying Symptoms

"Symptoms of BPPV are almost always precipitated by a change in head position. Getting out of bed and rolling over in bed are two common "problem" motions. Some people feel dizzy and unsteady when they tip their heads back to look up. An intermittent pattern of these symptoms is usual," states the Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA).

Because of this, some people with BPPV avoid certain movements and positions for years at a time, not realizing that there is a simple remedy in sight. Lisa Dransfield, director of physical therapy at the Balance and Vestibular Center at Associated Neurologists Physical Therapy in Connecticut tells NewsTimes:

"There are people who come to see me and say they haven't turned their head in a certain direction for ten years or more. The sad thing is many have learned to adapt to this by driving without turning their head, not reaching for things, and not rolling onto their side in bed.

Their world becomes very small and limited, and they increase their risk of getting into accident."

What Causes BPPV?

Structures in your inner ear contain calcium carbonate crystals (sometimes called "ear rocks") that help you perceive movement and gravity. If these crystals become dislodged, they can bounce around your inner ear canals, leading to feelings of spinning, imbalance and vomiting.

BPPV can occur with no known cause, especially in older people, however it is often associated with a head injury. According to VEDA, "The most common cause of BPPV in people under age 50 is head injury." Head injuries that occur from falls, playing sports, car accidents and any other cause may contribute to BPPV.

It is also associated with migraines and viruses of the ear, and any disorder that impacts the balance organs of your ear can also increase your risk of BPPV. The condition has also been occasionally reported following dental or inner ear surgery.

The Epley Maneuver: A Simple Treatment

A surgical procedure that involves using a bone plug to block a portion of your inner ear is sometimes recommended to treat BPPV, but make sure you do not consent to this treatment until your physician has tried a canalith repositioning procedure known as the Epley maneuver. As the Mayo Clinic states:

"Performed in your doctor's office, the canalith repositioning procedure consists of several simple and slow maneuvers for positioning your head.

The goal is to move particles from the fluid-filled semicircular canals of your inner ear into a tiny bag-like open area (vestibule) that houses one of the otolith organs (utricle) in your ear where these particles don't cause trouble and are more easily reabsorbed.

Each position is held for about 30 seconds after any symptoms or abnormal eye movements stop. This procedure is usually effective after one or two treatments."

The Epley maneuver takes just 15 minutes for your physician to perform and may offer you relief to a problem that’s been plaguing you for years. A recent study published in the journal Physical Therapy even found that the odds of resolving BPPV were 22 times higher among those receiving the canalith repositioning procedure than in people receiving a sham treatment.

Following the treatment, your physician will give you home-care instructions to follow. Generally, your ear must not move below shoulder level for the rest of the day, and you cannot lie flat. When you sleep you will need to elevate your head on several pillows or sleep in a recliner.

One of the best parts about the Epley maneuver is that your physician can teach you how to do it, so you’ll likely be able to correct the problem yourself at home should it reoccur.

If you know of a friend or family member who has complained of unexplained vertigo and dizziness, please forward this article on to them. By seeing a health care practitioner who is knowledgeable about BPPV and the Epley maneuver, you may be able to find relief from chronic dizziness in as little as 15 minutes.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Head Injury for Football Players

High-quality protective gear, including properly fitted helmets, mouth guards and padding, can help prevent athletes from sustaining sometimes deadly head injuries, however that is only a starting point.

The National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research has compiled the following nine tips for reducing the risk of head and neck injuries among football players:

  1. Athletes must be given proper conditioning exercises that will strengthen their necks so that participants will be able to hold their heads firmly erect when making contact.

  2. Coaches should drill the athletes in the proper execution of the fundamental football skills, particularly blocking and tackling. Contact should always be made with the head-up and never with the top of the head/helmet. Initial contact should never be made with the head/helmet or facemask.

  3. Coaches and officials should discourage the players from using their heads as battering rams when blocking and tackling. The rules prohibiting spearing should be enforced in practice and in games. The players should be taught to respect the helmet as a protective device and that the helmet should not be used as a weapon.

  4. All coaches, physicians, and trainers should take special care to see that the player's equipment is properly fitted, particularly the helmet.

  5. When a player has experienced or shown signs of head trauma (loss of consciousness, visual disturbances, headache, inability to walk correctly, obvious disorientation, memory loss), he should receive immediate medical attention and should not be allowed to return to practice or game without permission from a physician.

  6. A number of the players associated with brain trauma complained of headaches or had a previous concussion prior to their deaths. The team physician, athletic trainer, or coach should make players aware of these signs. Players should also be encouraged to inform the team physician, athletic trainer, or coach if they are experiencing any of the above mentioned signs of brain trauma.

  7. Coaches should never make the decision whether a player returns to a game or active participation in a practice if that player experiences brain trauma.

  8. In 2008 the National Federation of State High School Associations stated in a concussion management recommendation the following: no athlete should return to play the same day of a concussion and must receive clearance from a medical professional before resuming practice or games.

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports in a December 2009 meeting recommended that an athlete would be sidelined for at least the rest of the day if he/she loses consciousness or shows other worrisome symptoms during competition.
The panel also recommended sidelining an athlete with less severe concussion-related symptoms until cleared by a doctor.

A major concern is second impact syndrome where an athlete who has not recovered from a concussion is returned to play and receives another severe hit. This situation most often results in death.

  1. Game officials (referees) should call all illegal helmet contact in games. If they call all illegal helmet contact the number of concussions and catastrophic injuries may be reduced. Coaches will no longer teach improper techniques and players will no longer use their helmeted heads if they know a penalty will be called. At the present time officials are not calling all illegal helmet contact.

On a whole-body level, players should also put serious attention to stretching and strengthening their mind and body with the same programs many professional football players use to minimize injuries to their bodies.

According to the President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports:

  • Stretching is known to relax the muscle and has been advocated for the treatment of various muscle problems.

  • Static stretching is clearly indicated and commonly used for the acute relief of muscle cramps.

  • Stretching is commonly practiced to relieve symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

A Sound, Peaceful Night’s Sleep is Also a Crucial Element to Safe Sports Performance.

Researchers at Stanford University found college basketball players who got some extra sleep were able to decrease their sprint times and increase their average free throw percentage. They also reported increased energy and improved mood during their games and practices. What's more, getting extra sleep for as little as two weeks was enough to significantly improve the players' athletic performance.

Power Nap
Studies have found that 20 minutes is just the riht amount of time to de-stress — sleep to much longer and you could end up feeling groggy.

If you are the parent of a high school athlete, please also share this important information not only with your child but also with his or her coach and teammates.

As always, knowledge of how to prevent them (which you just learned) and acting on this knowledge (which is up to you) are the main weapons you have in avoiding head injuries.

If you have any concerns or questions you would like to discuss, please contact us for an appointment today.


Sources

National Center for Catastrophic Injury Research

National Federation of State High School Associations: Helping Students Report Injuries Without Fear of Looking Weak

Brain Injury Association of America

Mount Sinai Traumatic Brain Injury Central

Science Daily Catastrophic Head Injury 3X Greater in High School

MedicalNewsToday.com

Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

NewsTimes.com

Oxford Journals Brain Injury Physical Therapy

Vestibular Disorders Association

MayoClinic.com Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

Dizziness-and-Balance.com


Dr. Bernstein's Comments

Very important article and the message needs to be taken seriously.

Kid's brains are especially vulnerable to head injury and often they do not understand the consequences of playing a sport and especially playing when they already have had a recent concussion.

There are some nutrients and modalities that can help post concussion but prevention is key.

Please Note: Above comment statements are not written by Health Realizations, Inc. nor the opinion of HealthRealizations.com.

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