Youth Injuries & Sport Care: When It’s All In Your Head

Missouri Orthopedics, Advanced Sports & Medicine, Stl doctor, concussion

Youth head injuries are frightening and frustrating, especially when you’re a driven and determined athlete used to pushing through other injuries. Even a mild concussion can cause significant injury to your brain, and this makes it even more important to understand what to expect during the process of recovery.

When your injury is “all in your head”, sometimes it is difficult to take ongoing symptoms seriously. Since giving your brain a chance to heal is so important to your future performance, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

1. Be honest. Let your coach, parents, and doctor know if you’re experiencing symptoms of concussion. While you may be tempted to gloss over lingering headaches or trouble concentrating after an injury, ignoring symptoms may mean you re-injure your brain and have an even longer recovery.

2. Expect recovery to take time. According to a study published February 2016 in The Journal of Pediatrics, recovery from a concussion takes more time for younger players and those who have yet to go through puberty, with the average recovery time between about 33 and 54 days.

3. Expect frustration. You may have trouble with things like balance, sleeping, and concentration. You may have less of an appetite, experience headaches, and have a hard time predicting your emotional response to stress. While your brain heals, its normal to feel frustrated with symptoms.

4. If symptoms come back after you’ve been cleared to return to active sports, speak up! Recovery from concussion is a complex process and some symptoms can linger. Your doctor is the best one to determine a safe level of activity depending on what you’re experiencing.

While youth injuries are frightening and frustrating, the good news about having an injury that’s “all in your head” is that most young people with a concussion do experience complete recovery. Understanding what to expect during the process will help reduce your stress as you work to regain complete health.

Providing treatment for youth injuries and sport care is a big part of what we do. We’re committed to working with you to help manage your symptoms and get you back to active sports as soon as its safe for you to do so. Please contact us and we’ll work with you every step of the way.

Common Hockey Injuries

Concussions, Back Injuries, Elbow Injuries

Hockey Players Take A Beating, Typically

It is no surprise that hockey player undergo some physical pushing and shoving during the game. Sometimes the game is so physical that it can lead to injuries to their body which requires the medical attention of a doctor. We recommend an advanced sports medicine doctor like our very own, Dr. Irvine.

Ice hockey players fighting during game, Dr. Irvine, Sport Medicine

What are some common hockey player injuries?

Concussion This is a traumatic brain injury which may alter the way your brain functions.

Shoulder Injury* Our team evaluates and treat shoulder injuries including labral tears, Bankart lesions, rotator cuff tears & more.

Elbow Injury* Dr Irvine helps east the pain from elbow injuries such as fractures.

Back Injury Hockey players are especially at risk for lower back injuries which can affect your skating stride and overall comfort.

Hip Injury* Dr Irvine is experienced in treating hip arthroscopy as well as performing total hip replacement.

Knee Injury* Our doctor can perform ACL and PCL reconstruction, whether it be minimally invasive or a total reconstruction. However, his experience does not stop there. He is also able to treat a number of other knee conditions and injuries.

Wrist Injury* If you are experiencing a mallet finger injury and/or a wrist or hand fracture, then Dr. Irvine is your guy to call.

* Denotes services in which Dr. Irvine can help diagnose & treat.

If you are interested in jumping onto the road of recovery, and would like to become a potential patient of ours, please call today to schedule your appointment 314-567-5850.

Take Concussions Seriously

Signs of concussion

Before hitting the football, baseball and soccer fields for practice in your upcoming fall season, make sure you are informed & educated on concussions.

What is a concussion? Long term damage to the brain due to an injury.

Concussions can happen to anyone who plays any sport, including sports such as basketball, wrestling, tennis & gymnastics. If you suspect someone has a concussion, the most important thing you can do is to remove them from the field of play and have them seek medical help. Hopefully your coach went though a training course on how to recognize when one of their player may be experiencing symptoms of a concussion.  Some concussion signs to look for include:

  • Confusion
  • Appearing dazed
  • Acting clumsy or moving rather slow
  • Memory loss. For example: the score of the game, or where they are
  • Unconsciousness

If you are a parent reading this article, we caution you against debating the authority the coach may make to remove your child from the game upon suspecting they are experiencing a concussion.  It is better to be safe, than sorry. And, returning to a game while experiencing a concussion can really cause some further brain trauma.

Just remember, that after seeking medical help for a concussion, it is important to continue to build your way back to recover and take things slow. And, that includes the doctors specific orders they may give about returning to the sport & playing field.

Upon receiving approval from a doctor to regain their physical activity, and they have been cleared to begin working out again, we suggest taking exercise slow. Concussions are a serious issue and it is important athletes take the time they need to recover from any head injury before returning to play.

For any questions regarding concussion or the safety of your health while playing on the field, give Dr. Irvine a call today.

Kolten Wong Has Concussion

Second basemen, Kolten Wong, has concussion

St. Louis Cardinal player has concussion after hitting head

July 7th, the Cardinals took on the Chicago Cubs where in the 5th inning, Kolten Wong, hit his head after making an incredible catch in right field leaving him with a concussion.
“I hit right on the side of my head and landed right on my face,” Wong said. “It threw me back a little bit. I was a little dizzy. … As the game progressed, my headache got worse and worse and so they brought me in. … I had a headache the whole time, and it’s still lingering a little bit.”
Watch Wong Make this catch by clicking here!

Read the full coverage of this article, written by Jennifer Langosch here: Wong hits head on catch.

The Concussion Discussion

The Concussion Discussion

When is it OK to return to play?

St. Louis OrthopedicsWith a snap a 320-pound Charger kicks up his front limbs and hurls forward with mighty determination only to lose the battle to an oncoming jumbo jet that jarred his head at over 80 G’s.

No this is not a horse race or a flight simulation, but rather an NFL football game in which San Diego Charger’s linebacker Kris Dielman received a concussion on Oct. 23rd, which sent him in to a seizure on the airplane hours after the game. This was after his team deemed him fit enough to remain in the game even though he wobbled and appeared disorientated and cleared him for the flight home.

So what constitutes a concussion and how hard is too hard when getting “your bell rung” in contact sports such as football?

Benching the Brain
A concussion is typically caused by a severe head trauma during which the brain moves violently within the skull. The brain cells all fire at once, much like a seizure. Some studies show that patients who suffer a concussion appear to have the brain activity of people in a coma. Some blows produce unconsciousness and others may not depending on the person and the type of blow sustained.

HITS System hits back
Some concussion’s can be compared to suffering an impact at speeds similar to a serious car wreck and the same technology that deploys airbags and saves lives on the street is now being used to save lives on the field.

Riddell, which is the official helmet worn by NFL players, created a Head Impact Telemetry (HITS) System to a test and diagnose concussions through helmet impact by measuring the location, magnitude, duration and direction of head impacts and impact accumulations. This data is transmitted wirelessly to the sideline to provide coaches and medical staff with valuable information – in real-time if they choose – that can be used to identify potentially dangerous head impacts.

The resulting reaction force is expressed in g-force (with one g being equal to the force of gravity). The NFL began using this technology during the 2011 season and research conducted by them has determined that 98 G’s is the threshold for concussions.
Apart from the data, concussion symptoms may include: Confusion, disorientation, memory loss, unconsciousness, unequal size pupils, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting or vision changes. In any case, which these symptoms are evident the brain must be put through a battery of tests and before continuing with play.

St. Louis OrthopedicsDiagnosis of ImPACT
The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) program is currently used at many high schools and colleges, as well as the National Football League and National Hockey League. It is a 20-minute test that measures attention span, working memory, sustained & selective attention time, response variability, non-verbal problem solving and reaction time.

ImPACT has also designed a new app you can download. This free application consists of educational material regarding the prevention of concussion and mild traumatic brain injury, and a brief quiz designed to teach athletes, parents and others about the injury and to correct some of the misconceptions about the injury.

Taking on Technology
To date, the HITS system has gathered data on over 1.5 million head impacts giving them the knowledge to create more effective equipment. Thus, in January 2011, Riddell debuted their new Riddell 360 helmet in the National College Championship. The new helmet was redesigned to address key aspects of the helmet including the upper front of the helmet and facemask to better protect its front section. “The helmet reduces the force of impact to the front of a player’s head, where 70 percent of hits occur,” said Thad Ide, Riddell’s senior vice president of research and development.

Faceguards, which are usually made of carbon steel and attached the upper front of the helmet, now has a carbon steel hybrid, which is attached to the side of the helmet with hinge clips, allowing the faceguard to flex on impact, absorbing more of the energy before returning to its original shape. There is also a continuous padding arrangement on the inside of the helmet with a hexagonal design that forms to the player’s head via an inflatable liner in the side and back for a custom fit. This will prevent a player’s head from moving around inside the helmet, and keeps the helmet from popping off.

The Game Changer
Now football is just one sport this article focuses on, but concussions can occur in just about any sport or even a simple slip and fall accident and if not treated properly the brain can endure serious long-term effects, such as memory disturbances, poor concentration, irritability, sleep disturbances, personality changes, depression or fatigue. And when 10% of high school athletes sustain a concussion each season the chance of having a serious brain injury is a higher possibility, which may not just change the game, but also their lives.