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New Research About Concussions

If you watched opening weekend for college football, then you saw many players (sometimes 3 from one team) get ejected for targeting, or aiming for the head or neck during a hit. Now I won't get into that debate, but there is a good reason that this rule is in place, and that reason is concussions. I know we have all heard about concussion testing, early return-to-play increasing risk for 2nd concussions, etc. But now there is new research suggesting another detriment to sustaining a concussion. A recent article in Sports Medicine followed college athletes that sustained a concussion for 90 days after they were allowed to return to sports. They called these athletes "exposed", and paired them with two other athletes that played the same sport and same position. They found that 50% of the exposed athletes sustained a lower extremity injury (such as an ankle sprain), compared to just 20% of the nonexposed athletes. The authors believe that the increased risk of injury is due to decreased neuromuscular response time, which decreases the athlete's ability to perform maneuvers safely to dodge opponents, avoid collisions, or brace for impact. The bottom line is that return-to-play guidelines are only worried about sustaining a 2nd concussion versus risk of other injury. If you, a coach, or athlete suspects a concussion, be sure to have your athlete tested not only for cognition and memory, but for balance, proprioception, and reaction time. We at Alliance Physical Therapy would be happy to assess your athlete and help return them to sports at a safe time to avoid future injuries.
407 Black Hills 762-6564
Yours in Health,

Brittany McClary, DPT

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