Last week, you read about my own experience with a major concussion and subsequent paralysis that I was able to treat without surgery, drugs, or physical therapy. This week I’d like to dive into why concussions are such a huge problem in a way that you probably haven’t heard before.
First, a bit of background information based on recent research:
The incidence of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in 2013 was about 2.8 million in the United States. Every day, 153 people in the United States die from injuries that include TBI.¹
In 2017, a summit was held in New York City to discuss head injuries. The following facts were shared:
• 75% of CONCs* (the term we use for concussions) in young players occurred when the player was not aware that contact or collision was coming. When a CONC was unexpected, the player’s symptoms lasted longer than a similar injury that occurred when the hit was expected.
• Up to 40 percent of youth soccer players indicated that they wouldn't report their CONC symptoms to anyone. This statistic is of particular concern to physicians and should be to parents of young athletes, as well, for the data tell us that continued play after concussion in children ages 12 to 18 is associated with significant delays in symptom recovery.²
Clearly, the staggering frequency with which CONCs are occurring cannot be ignored. It’s also important to recognize that while concussions are most likely to occur on the sports field (especially in contact sports like football, soccer, hockey, and cheerleading), they also occur in everyday life situations like car accidents, work injuries, and freak accidents in the home, like my own dining room concussion.
The fear of concussions is especially prominent when it comes to youth sports. (As a father of three children who each play multiple sports, I absolutely empathize with this worry that so many parents have). While there are many valuable life lessons to be learned from participating in sports, oftentimes these take a backseat when anxiety over serious injury becomes the main focus. In fact, in recent years, participation in youth contact sports has declined, and injury lawsuits have increased.
Former and current professional athletes are making public their refusal to allow their children to participate in contact sports due to the risk of CONCs. There are multiple news reports of former athletes’ lives being in turmoil due to multiple head injuries that often lead to drug addiction, violence, and even suicide. Many former athletes are allowing their brains to be donated upon their deaths for further research regarding TBIs to help combat the problems associated with CONC injuries.
This leads me to the three-fold problem with CONCs.
First, the standard concussion protocol is severely lacking in terms of assessing nerves. It consists of a series of questions that are asked of the athlete right after the injury, and their answers are compared to their baseline responses when administered the test prior to going onto the field.
If it’s determined that the player needs immediate medical attention, they’ll be taken to the ER, and a CT scan will be performed to check for any bleeding in or around the brain. The overwhelming majority of CONCs do not involve a brain bleed, so the athlete will be sent home with orders to rest, stay away from school or work, refrain from driving and cell phone and computer use, take over-the-counter NSAIDs, and if necessary, avoid light and noise.
Essentially, doctors will send a concussion patient home with the hope that their brain heals itself, but it may take days, months, or even years. If it doesn’t, they are looking at much more invasive treatments.
What this standard protocol doesn’t involve, though, is any sort of check of the injured player’s nerves, which is the most crucial piece of the puzzle, but almost always overlooked by even the most trained and experienced medical staff.
Second, we live in a time when children have poorer nerve health than adults five times their age. I see this again and again both in my clinic and on the sidelines. Since nerve health is by and large an untapped area of the conventional health care system, nerve weaknesses often go unnoticed and undiagnosed. It’s only the major nerve weaknesses, such as paralysis, that are visible and diagnosed.
From two decades of clinical observation, I believe that the deterioration of youth nerve health is due to the following:
• The level of pollutants, toxins, and chemicals in their environment.
• Radio waves and other EMF(electromagnetic frequencies) from cellphones and other devices.
• Eating more human-made food than God-made food.
In terms of the above issues, adults generally adapt better to change and stress. However, children born now must deal with these massive changes in technology and the environment that have occurred just in the last 20 years. Their little nervous systems are not equipped to adapt to the astronomical pace of changes occurring in the world today.
Additionally, this generation of children does not have anyone with proper knowledge routinely assessing their bodies’ nerve power to ensure their brains are powered up to all their body parts.
The third and final problem are monopolies on every level of sports. From little league to the professional level, each team is contracted with a particular therapy group, orthopedic group, and athletic trainers. These monopolies are well-intentioned, but they almost always fall short on many advanced, unconventional technologies, like what we practice at the Nerve Health Institute.
One day, a high school quarterback was brought into our clinic by his parents, who had heard about me from others in the community. He had a foot injury, known as turf toe, that was not healing under the care of his assigned school trainers and doctors, and they decided to seek alternative options.
Using our nerve power-checking methods that I will discuss in more detail next week, we were able to help his turf toe and get him back onto the field. His parents were impressed and relieved that they had found an option that worked for him! They spoke to his coaches about how there was a local doctor who was doing things that the school trainers and doctors weren’t capable of.
Soon after, the head coach and defensive coordinator came to our office to see our techniques for themselves and told me that they wanted me on the sidelines for all their games. Within an hour of them returning to school to discuss this potential partnership with the principal, I got a phone call stating that we were not allowed in the school at all. They could NOT make arrangements with anyone outside their contracted group.
Players and families typically live in a box of healthcare, and trust their team to provide the best care. This goes for any level of athletics, and when there isn’t room for any alternative methods, many players may continue to play at less than 100% power, putting themselves at risk for serious injury, or might be forced to quit or retire early.
Sports teams don’t have any doctors, trainers, or therapists on their sidelines who do what we do. Come back next week where I will discuss why our approach is so effective at dealing with the problem of CONCs.
* The acronym, CONC, has been substituted for the word concussion.
² Mandelbaum, Bert. “Head Injuries in Soccer.” U.S. News & World Report. April 1, 2019. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/head-injuries-in-soccer