Not a week goes by when we don’t hear news reports of an athlete suffering a serious concussion. This past Sunday it happened to no fewer than three well-known NFL quarterbacks — Jay Cutler, Alex Smith and Michael Vick. But concussions aren’t limited to America’s playing fields. They can happen as a result of a car accident, a fall or any number of reasons.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur every year. While no two patients are the same, symptoms of concussion may include temporary loss of consciousness, confusion or feeling dazed, clumsiness, slurred speech, nausea or vomiting, headache, balance problems or dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light or noise, sluggishness, ringing in ears, fatigue, behavior or personality changes, concentration difficulties and memory loss, depression, and even taste and smell disorders.
What is a concussion? In simple terms, concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull. A concussion might happen as a result of a direct blow to the head or an indirect force, such as whiplash. You don't have to pass out to have a concussion, and in many cases there are no visible signs of injury such as cuts or bruises.
If you or a loved one suffers a concussion, you should seek immediate medical attention from your family physician or at an emergency room. Additionally, individuals suffering with the side effects of concussion should also contact a physical therapist for a treatment program to address their symptoms and limitations.
According to physical therapist Anthony Goode, co-owner of ProActive Sports Rehab in Hamburg and Orchard Park, there are several ways in which a physical therapist can help correct symptoms associated with a concussion.
“Dizziness is a common and unfortunate side-effect of concussion, and vestibular physical therapy will often benefit patients experiencing those symptoms,” said Goode. “If you are experiencing dizziness or issues with balance, a vestibular physical therapist can teach specific exercises and training that will reduce or end dizziness issues and improve your overall stability.”
Neck and spine issues can also be associated with concussions and should also be evaluated by your physical therapist.
ProActive Sports Rehab has offices at 4535 Southwestern Blvd. (Suites 805 and 806) in Hamburg and at 240 Red Tail (Suites 3 and 4) in Orchard Park, in the Sterling Medical Park. For more information on concussions and other health issues, please call the Hamburg office at 648-8700 or the Orchard Park office at 674-9600, or visit www.proactivesportsrehab.com. You can also follow ProActive Sports Rehab on Facebook for frequent updates.