In the United States, 1.6 to 3.8 million sports-related concussions are reported annually.3 Many times we focus on concussions and sports injuries affecting only(mostly) football players but according to a study looking at catastrophic sports injuries in high school athletes revealed cheerleading injuries rank number 1 in female sports and number 2 overall.2 In fact, it is reported that a cheerleading fall from a gymnastics type stunt has a greater impact than being tackled by a professional football player.
Various changes have been implemented as a preventive measure to minimize injuries, such as, enhancing the number and training of spotters, mandatory floor mats, restricting complex stunts when surfaces are wet, and safety certifications for coaches. Cheerleaders who do suffer concussion type injuries begin to deal with several symptoms which many times go unnoticed or avoided to prevent loss of playing time.1,3 Symptoms of a concussion include:
- Balance problems
- Sleep disturbance
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Mood changes
- Difficulty with concentration and memory. 1,3
Making sure your loved one gets the care they need is important as concussions that go unrecognized or are mismanaged put athletes at a considerable risk for re-injury which may lead to early Alzheimer’s disease, emotional disturbances, memory loss, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, seizure disorders, bipolar disorders, movement disorders such as parkinsonism, or as serious as neurological dysfunction or death.3, 4
If you notice these symptoms, time is not the solution. Upper cervical chiropractic specialist, Dr. Justin Schallmann, has found that head injuries are causing a displacement of the upper cervical spine leading to a cascade of symptoms described above. By accurately and specifically correcting this misalignment young athletes not only find improvement in their symptoms but also find their performance to also improve. Dr. Schallmann suggests parents who have children in sports monitor their children. They may not see these symptoms but may notice the following: grades drop, loss of focus or interest, increase in falls or change in behavior. The key is correcting the problem as soon as it is noticed to prevent irreversible neurological damage.
- Mueller, F. Twenty-ninth annual report. Catastrophic sports injury research. 2011.Web. Accessed on 23 July 2015. <http://www.unc.edu/depts/nccsi/2011Allsport.pdf>.
- Cheerleading ranks first in catastrophic sports injuries. U.S. Sports Academy. 8 April, 2011. Web. Accessed on 22 July 2015. <http://ussa.edu/news/cheerleading-ranks-first-in-catastrophic-sport-injuries/>.
- Diagnosing and treating sports-related concussion. Mayo Clinic. Web. Accessed on 22 July 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/concussion-testing/care-at-mayo-clinic/research/prc-20022258>.
- Elster, E. Head Injury/Post-concussion Syndrome. Upper cervical chiropractic care. Web. Accessed on 23 July 2015. <http://www.erinelster.com/ConditionsDetail.aspx?ConditionID=12>.
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