For Immediate Release: January 16, 2015
Eric Cardin, SCPT Executive Director, 508-832-2628
AUBURN _ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that emergency rooms have seen an increase among children and adolescents in traumatic brain injuries by upwards of 60 percent within the past decade.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction. Typically, TBI occurs through a jolt or blow to the head, or a penetrating head injury, which then disrupts normal brain function. TBIs can range from mild to severe, although the Center for Disease Control cautions us to remember that every brain injury is a serious one.
January is National Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month and health professionals throughout the country are asking the public to be extremely vigilant regarding safety habits during winter sports, and to be aware of the warning signs of TBI.
“It’s very important for people engaged in winter sports recreation to recognize the signs and symptoms of TBI. These symptoms include pressure in the head, feeling dazed or stunned, any loss of consciousness, mood changes, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and/or noise and confusion,” said South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) Executive Director Eric Cardin. “Memory loss and mood swings can occur later, as TBI develops and lingers.”
Research presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed that concussions can cause long-term negative effects to the brain that can last for decades after the initial trauma. In 2014, the National Football League reached a settlement which would award former players millions of dollars due to concussion-related brain injuries. These athletes claimed that later in life those concussion-related brain injuries caused dementia, Alzheimer’s, mood disorders, and, in some extreme cases, led to death.
Annually in the United States, over 30 million children participate in an organized sport. In 2013, in Massachusetts alone, over 4,400 concussions and head injuries were reported in surveys submitted to the state by 360 public and private schools.
Findings such as these have health professionals taking a closer look on what can be done to help mitigate the devastating and sometimes fatal effects of TBIs and to help prevent them whenever possible.
For 30 years, SCPT has been dedicated to the prevention and rehabilitation of sport-related injuries. The company is a member of STOP Sports Injuries, which raises awareness of the long-term consequences of overuse and trauma injuries, and offers comprehensive sports medicine services that address all conditioning, injury prevention and rehabilitation needs.
“In Massachusetts, all trainers, physicians, and nurses who work or volunteer at a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) member school are required each year to participate in an approved concussion awareness program in grades 6 -12. The law further requires that parents of children and non-clinical staff and volunteers, who participate in an extracurricular activity at those schools, document that they have received head injury education annually,” Cardin said. “While this is a great start, we feel there’s so much more that can and should be done.”
Recently, SCPT has been developing an in-depth concussion incident reduction program that involves a specific training program for student athletes. The program is a series of strength training exercises designed for the core, neck, and for improving balance. While still in its early stages, this type of training is showing promising signs in helping those players who are most vulnerable to concussions.
“Weak necks, poor balance and posture may make an athlete more susceptible to a potential injury. We presented this strength training program to the Curry College girls’ soccer team over the summer. The coach was so pleased that he will be incorporating these exercises with his team going forward,” Cardin continued. “It’s vital that we continue to do research and find innovative ways of helping to decrease TBIs in both children and adults. Education and research are necessary to establish effective programs for combating the impact TBI can have on any athlete.”
The CDC offers a Heads Up Youth Sports Awareness Initiative that gives guidelines and best practices for overall sports safety. To find out more, visit http://1.usa.gov/1DUR4yG.
For more information on SCPT’s programs and services, visit www.southcountypt.com or call 508-832-2628.
For 30 years, South County Physical Therapy, Inc. has been dedicated to providing its patients with quality, personalized rehabilitative care in an environment that is safe, comfortable and compassionate. As a privately owned company, the organization has given back to numerous charitable organizations in the communities it serves, and seeks to make a difference in promoting wellness and health awareness. The company offers six locations in Central Massachusetts that include: Auburn, Charlton, Millbury, Westborough (East Main Street and Oak Street) and Worcester. For more information, visit www.southcountypt.com.
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