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Concussion Treatment in Student Athletes

We’re hearing more and more about the effect of concussions on professional athletes but the fact is concussions are more traumatic when they happen to children. While we can’t repair brain damage caused by concussion, we can provide alternative therapies for concussion treatment in student athletes that support a healthy brain and get your athlete feeling better.

Concussion by the numbers

It is estimated that 1.6-3.8 million sports related concussions occur in the U.S. each year. During 2001-2005, children ages 5-18 years old accounted for 2.4 million sports related emergency room visits and of those, 6% were concussions. The leading cause of concussions in male high school athletes is football and in female athletes is soccer.

What is a concussion?

A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a direct blow to the head or an indirect blow to the body such as whiplash, causing the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. Once a patient has suffered a concussion, it is three times more likely they will have a second concussion within four weeks.

Patients like professional athletes who suffer many concussions over a long period of time are likely be diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is the degeneration of brain tissue causing memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, problem with impulse control, aggression, and progressive dementia at a younger age than would be expected.

What are symptoms or signs of a concussion?

The symptoms or signs of a concussion include headache, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating or problem solving, irritability or sadness, sleep disturbances, blurry vision, changes in appetite or energy levels, seizure, and language impairment. A child with a concussion may cry excessively or have little interest in their favorite toys. If you or your child is at risk for having a concussion and is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention.

What is the conventional concussion treatment for student athletes?

Often student athletes will not stop playing the sport that caused their injury. However, they should rest for a few days after a concussion. Continuing to play may cause brain bleeding that will eventually kill them. Conventional treatment includes neurological and cognitive exams, and CT scan and/or MRI. Once confirmed, a conventional doctor will recommend rest and over the counter medication to relieve headache and other symptoms.

What alternative therapies are available for concussions?

While diagnostic testing, rest, and over the counter medication may relieve symptoms in the short term, we also recommend alternative therapies such as homeopathy, nutrient IV therapy, and supplements to support brain function.

As always, our goal as naturopathic doctors is to treat the cause and support the body healing itself. The best prevention for concussions is to avoid sports like football and soccer where injuries are more likely and to seek medical attention for injuries.

For more on this and other alternative therapies offered at Aurora Natural Medicine, call 480-719-5119 to schedule an appointment.