CHICAGO, Aug. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As youth football and soccer seasons kick off on fields across the country this month, so should the awareness about the risk of concussions in youth athletics. Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers—the largest physical therapist owned and managed practice in the U.S.—stresses the importance of having adequately trained personnel on the sidelines who are prepared to make accurate diagnoses and informed decisions about players and concussions.
Concussion is a brain injury that occurs when the brain is shaken inside the skull, causing changes in the brain's chemistry and energy supply. A concussion may happen as a result of a direct blow to the head or an indirect force, such as whiplash. When the skull and the brain within it are spun rapidly, the nerves or brain cells temporarily stop working properly. This interruption in normal brain cell activity leads to headaches, confusion, and other symptoms. The person may or may not lose consciousness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions occur each year in the United States. The most concussions are seen in football and soccer. In addition, an analysis of data from hospital emergency departments across the country revealed that almost 500,000 ER visits for concussions occurred among 8- to 19-year-olds between 2001 and 2005. About half were sports-related, and 40% of sports-related concussions involved children between the ages of 8 and 13.
When a concussion occurs, the first and most important step is to recognize it. More often than not, though, youth sports are being played without proper medical coverage. According to the National Athletic Trainers' Association, just 42% of high school athletes have access to athletic trainers. If not treated properly, concussions can lead to long-term problems for young athletes.
Accelerated has available sports medicine services that are unparalleled in the industry. The highly-skilled clinical team, which includes 92 licensed, certified athletic trainers, as well as more than 760 physical and occupational therapists and other rehabilitation specialists, possess first-hand knowledge and experience related to the exact training and health care needs involved in athletics.
In addition, Accelerated offers a Vestibular Rehabilitation Program, which focuses on treating balance disorders and dizziness (problems often resulting from concussion). Accelerated's specially-trained therapists use a combination of physical and occupational therapy techniques to evaluate individual symptoms and limitations related to concussion, as well as diagnose and treat concussion symptoms. The program includes specific exercises and training to reduce or stop dizziness and improve balance and stability. As concussion symptoms decrease, the physical therapist will help the patient resume physical activity gradually, to avoid overloading the brain and nervous system that have been compromised by concussion. Clinical experience shows that vestibular rehabilitation has success rates as high as 90%.
"In youth athletics, games are getting more aggressive and kids are getting stronger and faster," said Leila Siano, Manager of Sports Medicine and Certified Athletic Trainer. "As a result, there is an alarming rise in concussions in youth sports. Accelerated and our team of qualified therapists work every day to educate, making the information about concussions as widely and readily available as possible. This is the first step. Then we need to call a concussion what it is—not just 'having your bell rung,' but a brain injury—and treat it as such."
If you suspect a concussion:
- Seek medical care immediately.
- Avoid any activity that carries a risk of head injury.
- Limit activities of all kinds, including school and work.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Difficulty with balance
- Difficulty with sleeping
- Double or blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Cognitive symptoms may include:
- Difficulty with short-term or long-term memory
- Decreased ability to think through problems
- Difficulty with concentration
About Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers
Chicago-based Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers is a premier provider of a wide array of comprehensive patient services and specialized rehabilitation programs. Since 1989, Accelerated has grown to over 230 outpatient rehabilitation centers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Arizona, becoming the top choice for many professional athletes, large employers, and busy professionals. For more information about Accelerated, call 877-97-REHAB, or visit acceleratedrehab.com
Contact: Kim Rosenlund, Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers, 708-539-9446
SOURCE Accelerated Rehabilitation Centers