WHAT IS A CONCUSSION?
A Concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), is caused by a large amplitude linear and/or rotational external force being applied to the head, that results in a sudden jarring change in kinetic momentum (i.e. a rapid acceleration-deceleration of the inter-cranial brain motility). The external forces that are sustained during a concussion, are beyond the normally experienced levels, and thus affect the structural integrity, not only of the brain, but of surround tissues (i.e. spinal cord, spine, muscles, ligaments, tendons). As a consequence of this, senses and function, such as: vision, vestibular balance, smell, taste, hearing, chemical messengers, cognition, memory, behavior, lymphatic drainage, and not just limited to cerebral blood flow; will be affected.
The Linear & Rotational Vectored Forces Experienced During a Concussion
Concussions can be classified as having both linear and rotational-vectored impact forces. A Linear concussion occurs when a vectored force is delivered, resulting in the in the head moving in back to front plane or along a straight axis
A rotational concussion involves rotational vectored forces that cause the head to rotate around the neck vertebrae All concussions involve a degree of both linear and rotational forces being applied to the head and neck, much like a boxers speed bag the swivels in several directions upon impact. Hence, the denser it is around the swivel (i.e. the neck), the less like for any movement in various directions. A well thought out conditioning program address the needs of both planes of movement (i.e. linear and rotational) w.r.t. neck conditioning. In essence, the stronger the neck is, the greater likelihood the head will not ‘whip around’ as much during contact.
Looking at a Concussion as a 3-Dimentional Global Problem
It is obvious to view a concussion as a trauma sustained by the neck, skull and brain, but how about viewing it as a 3-Dimentional Distortion, that the body builds itself around this cocoon, much like Matryoshka Russian Dolls That Fit Inside Each Other.
Depending upon the magnitude to the impact and location, it is possible, that the body will build a 3-Dimentional connective tissue cocoon around this distortion. If the connective tissue is pliable and has the structural integrity to ‘re-coil’ from such an impact, the connective tissue will not be compromised. If however, the connective tissue lacks said qualities, such force will adulterate the connective tissue to reflect the nature of the impact. The problem becomes more intensified when the visceral organs and bones are involved. The organs, for the most part can be viewed as “water filled balloons”, that are held up in 3-dimentional space by connective tissue slings, that extend the full length and breath of the body.
When the impact is sustained to the organs, they become “squished”, then re-coil back into “shape”. Again, if the magnitude of the impact is less than the structural integrity of the connective tissue that comprises the organ, the organ tissue, and thus ultimately, the organ function itself, will not be compromised. Convsersely, the opposite will hold true as well.
Irrespective of whether or not bone(s) were broken during an impact type of injury, the same sort of logic that was applied to connective tissue and organ, can also be used with bone. It is more apparent, to us, when an athlete breaks a bone, irrespective of the type of fracture.
But, what is more important is the forces associated with the sub-breaking threshold of the bone, that will not necessarily cause a break but will alter it’s Piezo-electric structural integrity, thus creating a tension pattern in one of several or a combination of forms (i.e. torsion, shearing, translation, compression, bending).
This would be akin to bending a green stick, or a fresh branch from a tree. It will not break, but once the force applied to the stick has been released, the stick still maintains some of the vectored forces that were once present.
The resultant, distorted tension pattern, will 3-dimentially alter the function of the muscles that surround the compromised bone. Ultimately, this could influence global tension patterns, much like those that could be sustained during either a visceral or connective tissue distortion, as mention above.
Rules changes on how the game is played
Protocols to screen a player once they have been suspected of sustaining a concussion
Proper sleep hygiene and habits
Proper sports equipment
Teaching better technical skills on how to mitigate collisions and how to deal with body contact
Regenerative techniques once a player has been diagnosed with a concussion
Proper conditioning – developing a sound body structure (i.e. Body Amour 0r “Under Amour”). Strengthening the neck, along the spine, the midsection, the hips, low back, ankles and feet)
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