When someone suffers a traumatic brain injury, it generally occurs in one of three ways – from a car accident, from a fall or as the result of of athletic activity. Falls and car accidents are awfully hard to prevent, but there are some ways you can alleviate your concussion risk during sporting events. Today, we share five tips for reducing your likelihood of suffering a TBI during sports.
Preventing TBIs During Athletics
Not all TBIs can be prevented during sports, but you can reduce your risk by following these five tips.
1. Headgear Safety – If you’re participating in some recreational sports like cycling, skateboarding or skiing, always make sure you wear a helmet. Nobody expects to fall, but if you do, you’ll be thankful you have protective gear on your head. If wearing a helmet is required for your sport, like in football or baseball, make sure it is fitted by a professional, because if it is too loose or too tight, it can actually increase your risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury or concussion.
2. Limiting Contact Practices – It’s important to get players ready for the intensity of actual games, but that doesn’t mean every practice needs to be full contact. Traumatic brain injuries in sports typically result from contact to the head with the ground or contact to the head from another player. If we reduce the amount of contact a player’s head has with teammates, we reduce the likelihood of traumatic brain injuries.
3. Balance Training – Keeping your balance is another key component of reducing TBI likelihood. Strength training is important to improve the head and neck muscles, but balance training can keep you on your feet and prevent your head from striking the ground. Don’t ignore balance training when preparing for athletic activity.
4. Body Control/Contact Techniques – Whether you’re lining up to tackle a running back or driving down the middle of the lane in basketball, body control and contact angles are important. Don’t lead with your head in football, because that’s where the impact of the other player will be felt. In sports like soccer and basketball where you’re often absorbing contact or maneuvering through small areas, reckless movements can increase your likelihood of a TBI, so be smart when moving about the area of play.
5. Injury Recognition – A final way to prevent traumatic brain injuries during athletic events is through better head injury management from players, coaches and training staff. Players are usually the least helpful because they oftentimes want to play through the injury because of their competitive drive, but a smart athletes will understand that their long term health is more important that finishing that one game, because a second injury when the brain is already injured can cause severe problems. As for coaches, training staff and parents, they should read up on the signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries and conduct baseline cognitive assessments to ensure they recognize if their players are suffering from a head injury.
If you or your child are suffering from a recent head injury, contact a neurologist for more information today.