August 30th, 2013

Health N' Sports: Concussions

Staff Report

Health N' Sports: Concussions
UK football helment / photo from

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic shares insight on concussions

As a part of the Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic, the Sports Rehab Team physical therapists are knowledgeable and trained in the latest advancements and techniques available in sports rehabilitation.

On a weekly basis, the Health N’ Sports Update will give information on prevention, recovery, and include special offers, as well as general health tips that would be beneficial to all. If there is a specific topic you’d like to know or hear more about, email future suggestions to

Rest: The Key to Concussion Recovery?

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics showed that taking a week off of all mental and physical activity may be correlated with fewer post-concussion symptoms. These symptoms include headaches, fatigue, decreased mental clarity, decreased ability to concentrate, and poor quality of sleep.  Most patients are advised to rest following an injury involving a concussion, but rest usually involves physical immobility while we watch TV and read to pass the time. 

This study involved 49 students in high school or college who had suffered a concussion in the recent past.  Some were within a week of the concussion and some students had suffered the injury up to seven months prior.  The limitations were strict- the students could not go to school, work, talk on the phone, watch TV, play/work on the computer, exercise, or even socialize with their friends.  All students were suffering from symptoms including headaches and difficulty concentrating.  Following one week of full rest, every athlete reported improvement in their symptoms.  The study also involved a series of mental exams, on which the majority of the patients performed better than prior to their week of rest.

While this study has a number of limitations and only involved about 50 students, is suggests that a period of serious rest may be useful in treating post-concussion symptoms.  As difficult as it may be, athletes may benefit from giving up not only school and work for a week but also video games, TV, and texting with their friends in order to make an optimal recovery from a concussion.

Feature By: Erin Fidler, M.P.T.

Questions and Answers from St. Albert the Great Chair of Athletic Ministry Aaron Lanning:

1) What sports (in your opinion) need the most concentration or awareness about concussions?

Tackle football would be my answer on that. However, there is chance of someone hitting their head in basketball or soccer as they are sports played at full speed with potential contact from your opponent. Looking at the news recently, I know tackle football has been under the microscope for potential problems due to concussions. I know at St. Albert our coaches are told to look for signs of a concussion whenever a player hits their head.

2) Do you feel like coaches and parents now know more about how to be aware about concussions?

Yes, as more and more cases nationwide make the news and more and more studies are revealed you can’t help but hear about concussions and their potential dangers. I know that the CSAA ( has a concussion page on their website.

3) What ages (in your opinion) deal the most with concussions? Do you see them at the grade school level?

Concussions can happen at any age. Of course as the players get bigger and stronger, the potential goes up. I haven’t heard of any concussions this year, and I can only think of a few that I have heard of over the past 2-3 years.

4) What is your advice about rest from concussions?

From what I have read, each case is different and if a player has had previous concussions the healing time should be longer.


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