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Pre-Concussion Testing for Kids

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Did you know that 50 percent of concussions may go unreported? Head injuries are on the rise for athletes at all levels of play. It is estimated that between 1.6 and 3.8 million concussions occur in the U.S. each year during competitive sports and recreational activities.* My fellow licensed athletic trainers (LATs) and I have become very concerned with these statistics, which is why we have partnered with ImPACT in an effort to provide state-of-the-art concussion care to athletes throughout the Fox Valley.

What is the Community Baseline Project?
It is a program that offers a Baseline ImPACT computerized test for any local athlete who does not already have access to a cognitive test through their club or school. These tests are to be done before a concussion occurs in order to establish a baseline or “normal” cognitive score.

The test costs $10 and takes about 25 minutes to complete. Several Affinity providers, including myself, who are trained in concussion management and ImPACT testing, can administer the test. These baseline tests are suggested every two years, starting at age 11 (must be 11 years old at the time of the test). Baseline reports help serve as a comparison to a repeat ImPACT test if a concussion is suspected. This helps assess the damage caused by a concussion.

The ImPACT test is a computer-based testing of neurocognitive responses (i.e. – memory, concentration, eye-hand speed, processing and reaction). All of these are improved with good rest and healthy habits. Getting rest and proper nutrition is essential to performing at each person’s optimal level. See “how to prepare” section below for details. Continue Reading »

Knee exercises to help prevent basketball injuries

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ACL injuries are more common in female athletes than in male athletes, at a ratio of around 8-to-1. That may seem discouraging for women athletes, but there is good news! There are specific sets of ACL-protective exercises that can be incorporated into practices to reduce the number of injuries. The Affinity Orthopedics & Sports Medicine departments have videos that demonstrate these exercises to reduce injury risk, and most school athletic trainers are well versed in describing these exercises. Other common injuries in basketball include kneecap dislocations, meniscus tears, hamstring/groin pulls and tendinitis. The plan below will outline how to best avoid these problems.

First, I’ll discuss a few facts about knee injuries and basketball, then a few warm-up exercises important for most running, cutting and jumping sports, followed by a number of dynamic exercises to prevent injuries to the knee. Finally, I’ll end with a summary of lower extremity exercises to avoid. Keep in mind that basketball practices should begin with light cardio and dynamic stretching before heavy competitive maneuvers are added. Static stretching is, in general, best added at the end of a practice to keep muscle fibers as responsive as possible during play. Continue Reading »

Five ways acupuncture can help athletes

acupuncture Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is one of the world’s oldest medical treatments still in use today. People have been using the ancient therapy to heal trauma, manage pain and maintain health for over 2,500 years.

Acupuncture involves placing fine needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. The stimulation of these needles corrects the flow of energy, or Qi, along channels throughout the body called meridians. It has long been proven to be successful for people of all ages and physical conditions. It’s no surprise that athletes can gain a competitive edge over their opponents by integrating this technique into their training regimen. Continue Reading »

Five common hockey injuries

Hockey As the leaves fall and the cold winds blow bringing in the beginning of the winter season, many will choose the comforting warmth of being inside. However, the change in weather also brings notice to another beginning – the start of hockey season!

Hockey is an intense, physical sport that demands strength and finesse. You have to be fit in order to win the puck from a scrum at the boards or to change direction quickly and take off in a fast sprint. It’s a fierce game that is played in 1-3 minute shifts of ice time before coming back to the bench to rest.

Like any sport, hockey is not without its penchant for injuries. Here’s a look at five of the most likely injuries to occur. Continue Reading »

Five exercises to help improve your balance for icy conditions

As we all know, Wisconsin weather can be called confusing at best. Temperatures can swing from 30 degrees one day, to 70 degrees the next day. Wisconsin winters can be particularly problematic due to the snow, ice and cold that lasts from December through March. One area of concern is slipping or falling on the ice. In general, people are more careful when they can see ice in the way, but what happens when we run into black ice or ice covered with snow? Is there anything we can do to prevent these falls, or limit the severity of injury when slipping? There is! I have several exercises and tips that can keep you healthier during the Wisconsin winter ahead. Continue Reading »

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