BELLEVUE, Wash., Aug. 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Concussions are a growing concern with athletes in all levels of sports. Professional athletes are at risk, as are school-age athletes and weekend warriors. Sports Reaction Center (http://www.srcpt.com), a sports physical therapy center that attracts amateur and professional athletes both locally and nationally, has a cutting-edge concussion management program designed to help its clients' current and long-term health and wellness.
The danger of concussions has received widespread media coverage due to cases with current and former National Football League players; yet the brain injury that is most commonly caused in sports through contact is also prominent in other sports, and amateur athletes are not immune.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, more than 1.6 million Americans suffer a sports-related concussion every year, and there is an escalating number among high school and college athletes.(1)
Federal statistics indicate that more than 150,000 teenage athletes sustained concussions on the playing field from 2001 to 2005. Since that figure accounts for only those who were taken to emergency rooms, experts agree that the true number is likely much higher.
Concussions in sports can typically occur through contact with an opponent or teammate, the ground, equipment, or objects on the field. When athletes return on the same day as their initial concussion, they risk a repeat concussion and experiencing Prolonged Post Concussion Syndrome and Second Impact Syndrome.
Another risk is Traumatic Encephalopathy, which is progressive neurodegeneration that is triggered by repetitive mild traumatic brain injury. This can evolve slowly over decades, and symptoms are not usually apparent until many years later.
"It is never appropriate for an adolescent athlete to return to play on the same day as the injury, and it is also dangerous for adults - even professional athletes," SRC founder Neil Chasan said. "Concussions are serious injuries that require close attention from medical professionals who understand how to effectively treat these injuries."
Baseline testing, Chasan says, is an ideal way to manage concussions. A battery of baseline tests includes gathering information on an athlete's normal brain function, which can then be compared to post-concussion testing in order to determine when they can safely return to action.
SRC uses ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) and BESS (Balance Error Scoring System) to understand multiple measures of cognitive function. The clinic also performs tests, using its OptoJump technology, to measure dual functions of the brain while active.
To measure reaction time, SRC uses a technology called D2 by Dynavision, which is an evaluation tool for head injuries, concussions and visual field deficits. The Dynavision D2 Visuomotor with a Tachistoscope is the only system that is widely used by athletes for reactive/cognitive training and testing.
When athletes have been diagnosed with a concussion, or if they suspect a concussion, Chasan says that it's important to have testing done to determine when it's safe for them to return to play in their sport.
"There is a significant risk of getting another concussion if an athlete returns to action before the first concussion is resolved," Chasan said. "This can lead to numerous problems in the short term and the long term, but it can be avoided with appropriate testing. Caution and safety are important, especially when dealing with brain injuries."
(1) New York Times, May 10, 2012, "Concussions May Be More Severe in Girls and Young Athletes," http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/concussions-may-be-more-severe-in-girls-and-young-athletes.
About Sports Reaction Center
Based in Bellevue, Washington and attracting athletes of all levels from the Bellevue, Seattle, Kirkland and Redmond areas - and around the United States - Sports Reaction Center (SRC) was founded by Neil Chasan in 1997. SRC performs sports physical therapy services that incorporate innovative technology like Dynavision, OptoJump and NASA-developed Alter-G. The clinic additionally offers concussion management and biomechanical assessment. SRC's clients also include multiple athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Trials in Track and Field as well as marathoner Mike Sayenko, Olympic hurdler Virginia Powell, and NFL, NBA and MLB players. The clinic also works with area organizations like Club Northwest, VO2 Multisports and the Seattle Rugby Club. A graduate of the University of Washington's physical therapy program in 1982, Chasan is a consultant to the U.S. Olympic Training Center, U.S. Rugby Sports Medicine, and Alter G. Neil is the author of the book "Total Conditioning for Golfers," and the creator of the video "The Swing Reaction System," Neil published Pain Free Back, an iPhone application. A clinical faculty member of the University of Washington's physical therapy program since 1990, Chasan teaches and consults with physical therapists around the world.
Karla Jo Helms
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SOURCE Sports Reaction Center