Summertime is Fun But Watch for Risks

by Tony Doan, Psy.D.
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Director

Each week in our concussion clinics, I am reminded about how seemly innocuous summertime activities can unexpectedly take a turn for the worse. Pool injuries are all too common, especially in older teens and young adults. Though their bodies have changed over the years, people in the late teens and early 20s can forget how much taller they are and more they weigh than in their youth.

Dive-Pool

I recently saw a young women who had jumped into about four feet of water and landed on her head and neck. She needed to be flown out to a regional hospital that manages shock and trauma patients but, luckily, had no life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, the hospital sent the patient home with instructions to wake up every couple of hours, which goes against concussion recovery guidelines for brain rest. So, our work on educating both the public and professionals goes on.

Another patient I recently treated was a man in his 60s who was playing baseball with his grandson and fell face-first against a tree — hard enough to sustain an eye injury and a concussion. After more than a year of treatment, he continues to have memory and balance problems.

The summer is a fantastic time to hang out by the water, play games in the yard. But, always be careful. Be aware of your surroundings. Frequently stay hydrated and make sure your loved ones around you are doing the same.

Concussion Concerns Raised Again in the World Cup Finals

by Tony Doran, Psy.D.
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Director

Germany may have won the 2014 World Cup, but their team wasn’t immune to head injury. In Sunday’s final game when Germany won against Argentina, German midfielder Christoph Kramer was hit hard in the face with a shoulder charge and knocked right off his feet. He was slow to get up and clearly disoriented but continued playing for another 14 minutes before slumping and needing help off the field. Even then, Kramer had difficulty maintaining his balance and appeared dazed despite attempting to shrug off the injury.

World-Cup-204-Kramer-Concussion

Hassan Ammar/AP Photo

For the International level and professional level, games committee members will need to change the rule to allow an immediate substitution for a suspected concussion that doesn’t count against a team’s three-substitute rule for the entire game. Coaches and doctors can then immediately recommend subs to relieve the injured players.

For college, high school, club and recreational athletes playing soccer, the hits and concussions seen over the course of the World Cup have been good learning lessons about concussions. For coaches, the World Cup injuries are clear examples of when a child needs to be removed from a game and be evaluated and cleared by a medical professional prior to returning to practice or games.

With the action of the World Cup being, quite literally, on the world’s stage, we hope concussions finally get the attention they deserve.

Online Resources for Concussion Recovery Include Webinars and Apps

by Tony Doran, Psy.D.
HeadFirst Concussion Care Program Director

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is a great resource for anyone healing from a concussion. This week, the center released new treatment guidelines for both insomnia and mTBI. You can read more information on their press release at: dvbic.dcoe.mil/press/2014/new-clinical-recommendations-treat-sleep-problems-following-concussion-released.

The DVBIC website has a ton of information for servicemembers, veterans and medical providers as well as family members and friends of anyone recovering from a brain injury. All the details can be found at: dvbic.dcoe.mil.

For medical providers, an ongoing webinar series is offered. The one coming up this Thursday, July 10, from 1:00-2:30 pm (EDT), is titled “Do Helmets Prevent Concussion?” More information can be found at: dvbic.dcoe.mil/webinar/2014/Do-Helmets-Prevent-Concussion

If the webinars are a little too scientific for you, check out the 27 cool apps that are helpful for individuals recovering from mTBI at: dvbic.dcoe.mil/slideshow/27-life-changing-iphone-and-ipad-apps-people-brain-injury. Some are free apps, while others are paid, but all use today’s smartphone technology to simplify everyday life for people with brain injury.brain_injury_apps

These are just two examples of the tons of information that both the scientific community & medical providers, as well as patients and their caretakers, will find useful and educational regardless of your level of understanding of mTBI. Enjoy & I hope you all had a fantastic 4th of July.