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Concussions and Helmets

Concussions and Helmets

A lot of time and resources have gone into methods to reduce concussion in sports. There’s a lot of speculative stuff out there, but most of it has yet to be proven in a meaningful way.⁣

The biggest myth is that newer generation helmets can protect against concussion in football. The evidence on this is really poor. ⁣



The problem is that a helmet was never really intended to prevent a concussion. It was meant to protect against skull fractures!⁣

Our helmets do a great job protecting our bones from breaking, but they can’t really stop the transmission of forces that travel into the brain and shear some of those delicate axons.⁣

Some have even made the case that because helmets protect our skulls so well, that new helmets have been increasingly weaponized in tackling forms that may increase concussive injury. For better or worse, rules against targeting have started to reduce this problem.⁣

So what can protect us from concussion in sports?⁣



So far the best evidence is to avoid head and neck contact, especially in earlier age groups.⁣

There are studies going on looking at therapeutic tools like vision training, neck muscle training, specialized mouth guards, and specialized neck collars.⁣

The truth is that the evidence for these things are still early and flawed, so we can’t say anything with confidence yet.⁣

In the meantime, the best things we can do is to make ourselves maximally prepared in strength, awareness, and reaction time so we can avoid the hits that may cause our brains harm.⁣

Gait Testing Can Predict Future Post Concussion Syndrome

A recent study in the journal Gait and Posture looked at various biomarkers in posture and walking in athletes who suffered a #concussion.⁣

⁣Prognosis for Persistent Post Concussion Symptoms using a Multifaceted Objective Gait and Balance Assessment Approach


They wanted to see if any specific findings on balance or gait testing could predict which patients would have a worse recovery.⁣

The study found that out of all of the balance and walking parameters, 2 metrics were associated with the development of persistent symptoms or #postconcussionsyndrome


𝗗𝘂𝗮𝗹 𝗧𝗮𝘀𝗸 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗚𝗮𝗶𝘁⁣
The study found that when concussion patients had to perform a cognitive task while walking, there were changes in their walk that predicted future symptoms.⁣

Patients that were more likely to have future symptoms showed 𝙞𝙣𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙡𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙖𝙘𝙠 when walking, and also 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝗺𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗼𝗺 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 when landing when they were engaged in a cognitive task.⁣

This might not seem like a big deal, but this may be a subtle sign that the brain is struggling to compartmentalize basic movement patterns, so it is using important resources from the frontal lobe to do something as simple as walking straight.⁣

This is why we have all of our patients perform a walking test with and without a cognitive challenge.⁣

The dual task paradigm gives us insight into brain function, and it also lets us know if we can use dual task exercises like the Fitlight to enhance our rehab.⁣

#neuroscience#neuroplasticity#tbi