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The school bells will be ringing soon and your children will be back in the classroom. As your kids return to the fields or courts for another sports season, it is important to remember how to protect your kids, especially from concussions.

Symptoms
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is suffering from a concussion; not everyone loses consciousness! Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to many weeks and can range from mild to severe.  You should contact your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms.

  • Thought Processes and Memory – Inability to think clearly, slower thinking, lack of concentration, inability to commit new information to memory
  • Physical – Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurry vision, headache, issues with balance, exhaustion
  • Emotional – Sad, nervous, more upset or angry than usual
  • Sleep – Sleeping more or less than usual, difficulty falling asleep

Younger children may also exhibit symptoms such as crying more often, changes in the way they act, nurse, eat or sleep.  They may lose interest in their favorite toys, have trouble walking, or lose newly developed skills, such as toilet training.

Treatment
When treating a concussion, the participant should stop what they are doing and rest in order to prevent further injury. It is best if the person can be monitored for 24 hours.  The individual should be taken to the hospital if s/he experiences a worsening headache, continuous vomiting, and increased drowsiness, dizziness, or disorientation.  Heart palpitations, seizures, passing out, and neck pain after a fall are all signs that the person should be taken to the doctor.

The resting of the body is needed to decrease the symptoms of concussion, this includes complete brain rest, for example no texting, no computer work, anything that requires hard concentration.  In some cases this will include school work and homework.  This should be done until all symptoms resolve.  A step wise progression back into activity can be started when they are symptom free.  Return to sport should be determined by a healthcare professional.  If symptoms persist past 2 weeks post-concussion syndrome should be investigated by you and your healthcare provider.  The Concussion Care Clinic can help with the resolution of post-concussion symptoms at the Fort Healthcare Therapy and Sport Centers.

Prevention
Whether you’re playing a sport, driving or riding on a motorcycle or snowmobile, or participating in risky activities such as biking, skateboarding, skiing, and horseback riding, there are ways to reduce your risk of getting a concussion; one no-brainer way to prevent head injuries is by wearing the proper safety equipment.  You can also reduce your child’s risk of getting a concussion by properly using car and booster seats and instilling safe practices and measures while riding their bike, playing at the playground, etc. 

Fort HealthCare offers ImPACT concussion screenings—computerized neurocognitive assessment tools and services to determine if an athlete is fit enough to return to play after suffering from a concussion. ImPACT is highly recommended for people participating in contact sports, as individuals can take the baseline test which will establish that person’s normal score; should a concussion occur, the ImPACT can be re-administered to assist medical providers in making return-to-play decisions. You can find more information about ImPACT concussion screenings online or contact Fort HealthCare’s Therapy & Sport Center at (920) 563-9357 for an appointment.

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Sprained ankles are the bane of many athletes and weekend warriors. If you think you’ve sprained an ankle, you should see a clinician for proper healing and to avoid future injury.

When you sprain an ankle, one or more ligaments of your ankle become overly stretched or even torn. Although it is possible to sprain the ligaments on the inside or outside of your ankle, the ligaments on the outside are most commonly sprained. They most often occur when your toes are on the ground, the heel is up and you are walking or running on an uneven surface. The ankle can turn inward, damaging the ligaments causing the sprain.

Ligaments in your ankle provide stability and motion, so when they are hurt, you are at an increased risk for more damaging injuries.

Sprain Severity
The severity of an ankle sprain is determined by a grading scale. Each grade has appropriate treatment.
Grade 1: Stretching of the ligaments. Treat by using RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
Grade 2: Stretching and some rupture of the ligaments. Treat by using RICE and by allowing additional time to heal. A sprain of this severity may need to be splinted.
Grade 3: Greater rupture of the ligaments. You may need to wear a brace for 2-3 weeks while the injury heals. Repeated ankle sprains may require surgery to repair the ligaments.

Recovery
After treatment, most people need to follow through with rehabilitation, with exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and learn to use the ankle more efficiently. With any type of sprain the ankle needs sufficient time to recover. It is important to remember that even if the pain has gone away you still need to follow the correct recovery procedure in order to for your sprain to heal properly.

For sports- or work-related injuries, a physical or occupational therapist, or licensed athletic trainer, can be integral in returning to pre-injury capacity. Our Therapy & Sport Center provides treatment and rehab for injuries from the simplest sprain, to a full joint replacement. If you’re hurt – don’t hesitate to call. Waiting often only leads to further damage.

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When you’re planning your next vacation, you’re thinking about where to stay, what to eat and what to do. You’re probably not thinking about when to run, where to walk or what gyms are available.

It’s hard to make time for exercise in our daily lives and even more so when you’re on vacation. However, if you do take a 2-3 day break (sometimes even more!) it can feel impossible to get back into the swing of things.

 Fitness experts believe that taking no more than 1-2 days off in a row will keep you in the fitness mode. But when planning a vacation, you can’t take a Zumba class with you and your treadmill will not fit in the overhead compartment, so find out what is available where you are going. 

Are you a member of a gym? Do they affiliate with other clubs around the area you are visiting?  Many places have away programs such as the YMCA, Curves and Snap Fitness – just to name a few. 

Are you going to a hotel?  Most hotels have a fitness center and some resorts even offer fitness classes for their guests. You never know who maybe in downward dog on the yoga mat next to you or where they will be from; you could make some interesting new friends!  If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center, they may contract with a local gym to offer free guest passes.

If you’re in a beach area, take a walk or run along the beach. Camping? Go for a hike! On a long road trip? Make pit stops at places like a zoo where you can get some walking in. Too much time on a plane? While you’re waiting at the terminal, take a few laps through the gates. Grab your carry-on luggage for added resistance!

If all else fails, take your workout shoes and go for a walk through the area you are visiting. Always be aware of your surroundings. Take a cell phone, don’t go alone and make sure someone knows where you are and when you’ll be back. A long walk through a local neighborhood will give you a different flavor of the city you are visiting.  Also, don’t focus on the “workout” but instead just on being active. That way, you won’t have to feel guilty about that Crème Brule you ordered last night at dinner!

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