Welcome to Stay in the Game, a monthly blog where the team from The Queen's Health Systems share the latest tips on the treatment and prevention of sports injuries. We want to help you play hard and be well - a winning combination that will keep you in the game all season long.

Concussion = Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

In the United States, children ages 0 – 4 years had the highest estimated annual rates of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-related emergency room visits (1,256 per 100,000), followed by adolescents 15 – 19 years of age (757 per 100,000). However, many children are never seen for evaluation or treatment because they did not "black out" (i.e., lose consciousness) or they may have done so for a very brief period of time. Those who are seen by emergency departments may be sent home with recommendations to rest a few days before getting back to regular activities. Brain scans may or may not be done and often come back with no indication of damage. Unfortunately, 145,000 children and adolescents (ages 0 – 19 years) are living with lasting cognitive, communication, physical or behavioral effects of TBI.

Possible Speech-Communication-Swallowing Results of TBI

Cognition (Thinking) Skills: Difficulty with recalling spoken or written information, shifting attention between tasks, completing tasks from start to finish, decision-making, mental flexibility, concentration, goal-setting, self-starting (initiation) and self-monitoring, judgment, planning and organization, reasoning and problem-solving, responding in a timely manner, and responding quickly

Language Skills: Problems with talking too much or too little, sticking to the conversational topic, taking turns when talking, finding words, organizing thoughts, following directions, reading comprehension, and writing

Physical, Behavioral and Emotional Function: Headaches, sensitivity to light and sounds, anxiety, lack of motivation or initiation, reduced emotions, changes in sleep patterns, depression, poor self-regulation, difficulty controlling emotions, excessive drowsiness, feelings of "fogginess," poor self-control, irritability, mood changes or mood swings, and reduced frustration tolerance

What Can Speech-Language Cognitive-Communication Therapy Do?

Management strategies learned in Speech-Language Therapy can be helpful. For instance:

• Anticipate and allot extra time to complete both familiar and new tasks
• Reduce environmental distractions to maximize focus, so tasks may be completed from start to finish
• Take breaks during extended periods of reading or studying to prevent headaches
• Use memory strategies (e.g., daily planner or written to-do list on paper or on an e-device) to assist with recall, organization, and keeping on top of schedule adjustments, if needed

Want to learn more? The Queen's Center for Sports Medicine provides comprehensive care for the treatment and prevention of sports injuries and conditions in athletes and active people of all ages.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call 808-691-4449 or click the button below.

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