Prevention

Unfortunately, not all traumatic brain injuries are preventable, but there are many ways to reduce the possibility of sustaining one. Although many cases of TBI, especially mild cases, go unreported. The primary causes of traumatic brain injury in the United States are falls, traffic accidents, assault or being struck.

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Strengthening Neck Muscles Helps Prevent Concussion

Strengthening Neck Muscles Helps Prevent Concussion
[Dr. Robert Cantu] The neck moves in basically three planes. It flexes and extends, it rotates left and right, and then it tilts left and right. And you can do those three motions against a resistance, such as your own hand. The resistance can be provided by bands. The resistance can be provided, if you have it properly fitted, by Velcro straps where you actually have a D-ring in them that you're pulling against with a particular activity so you can actually set it up to be a certain amount of weight that you know what it is that you're doing your repetitions against. What you want to seek out is something that you can do 12 to 15 repetitions of and then when you can get up to easily do three sets of 15 reps then slightly increase the resistance. Well, if not daily, it should be every other day, I believe, and there are machines in addition to what I described that have been designed to strengthen the neck muscles; they can be used as well. Well in youth sports the machines are not going to be the answer. And in youth sports the most practical solution is probably using your own hand as the resistance and/or the buddy system. If you have kids and they want to use a football helmet, then I suggest that D-rings be affixed just above the ear hole on the left and right side, front and back, and on the center of the face mask. And then you hook your resistance whether it be a spring scale, whether it be a band, or whatever you're using for your resistance into the ring and then you go the opposite direction of wherever you're pulling on it. Well there's just the one paper with Christy Collins and Dawn Comstock so far in the literature where it's actually shown, and in that particular study of high school athletes in a variety of sports those with the strongest necks had the least amount of concussion. Those with the weakest necks had the highest amount of concussion.

Learning to Cross the Street Is More Than Simple ABCs

Dr. Gillian Hotz: Learning to Cross the Street Is More Than Simple ABCs
I think the whole first concept is to get the child to the corner, to a curb where they have to learn that they cannot cross midstreet. So you have to show them what a curb is, what a corner is and also the familiarity of the colors red and green. Green means go, red means stop and then starting to learn the pictures first. That's where we start with the Kindergarten level. To make an intersection safe, first of all, there has to be an identified curb. So there's got to be some place that there's a corner. And at that corner, there either has to be a crossing walk or there has to be a signal. And I think that what happens is that what we teach in our curriculum is that if you don't have these two things, it's not really a safe place to cross. But a lot of the time, what happens is in these rural areas, where there are not so many crosswalks, and there's not so many traffic signals, people seem to cross midstreet. And so that becomes problematic, but also the incidence of being hit is very low in these rural areas, as well, because there's just not traffic volume as we do in urban areas. When you teach a child who's in grade 1 left and right, the best way to teach this is we have pictures. We also teach the L, you know, signal with fingers, and then there's a song also that goes with it, but we actually have them walking across the street, looking left, looking right, you know, the whole thing. And this seems to get the motor with the words, and this is what we teach. And, you know, they're always looking for oncoming traffic and then how to judge, you know, how fast those cars are coming, but I guess, you know, the thing you need to teach your child is that you must go where you see the crosswalks and signals, because that'll be the safest place for you to cross.

Recommendations for Young Athletes

Recommendations for Young Athletes
We recommend that the young person be removed from play for evaluation by a healthcare provider that has experience and training in the area of concussion and concussion management. And so this is a change for individuals who may have believed that a concussion doesn't occur unless there's a loss of consciousness. And we know scientifically that concussions can occur without a loss of consciousness. So that's one of the new learnings for many of the coaches that do take a look at our toolkits and implement them at their schools. We have done a number of evaluations with coaching groups, and that was a new finding for many of them. In addition to our toolkits, we now offer professional education for coaches and trainers free of charge on our website.

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