Every child deserves to have a life of happiness, success and fulfillment. As a coach or teacher you want your students to learn what their true potential is, to learn, grow and mature into successful athletes as well as students. Your intention is to see them succeed in all areas and give them every opportunity to make their dreams come true. Athletics are instrumental to a young adult building self-confidence, leadership ability, along with promoting healthy exercise and dietary habits that can last a lifetime.
Most people would agree that participation in high school sports has numerous benefits, it also inherently has its drawbacks. Head injuries are increasingly common among children of all ages. Normally one would associate a head injury or traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a car accident, slip and fall or physical abuse. However, recent findings are suggesting that sports wherein participants repeatedly and consistently suffer mild TBI can over time become just as harmful if not worse than 1 or 2 significant TBI.
Since everyone is different, symptoms of TBI may not show for quite some time. They may also be very subtle. Significant damage can be occurring and not show for up to 6 years. This means that depending on when the student began playing sports they could be 20 years old and already have serious brain damage that could change their behavior, alter reasoning skills and seriously change the level of success they can achieve during their lifetime.
Each time there’s a hit to the head, the brain moves back and forth hitting the cranial bones. That impact may not be great enough to cause a bleed or significant damage, but it is enough to cause very mild inflammation. Usually that inflammation subsides and if no other traumas occur then no lasting effects happen. However, if there is a repeated injury on a regular basis, the inflammation doesn’t decrease. Over several years this can turn into Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative disease found in people who have suffered repeated blows to the head.
CTE is dementia pugilistica (DP), i.e. “punch-drunk,” as it was initially found in those with a history of boxing. CTE is most commonly found in athletes participating in high school/college/professional football, rugby, ice hockey, boxing, wrestling, stuntmen, bull riding/rodeo, soccer, cheerleading and other contact sports who have experienced repeated brain trauma, such as concussions and blows to the head that do not produce concussions. The presence of CTE in domestic violence is also being investigated. It can affect high-school athletes following just a few years of participation in sports.
High school football players who were studied recently showed a remarkably high level of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Multiple experts agree that hits from a boxing glove (padded) effect the brain differently than getting hit while wearing a helmet (hard surface). Also, the direction of the impact matters as well, boxing is more circular motion, football related impacts are more direct/straight. Straight on hits are known to cause more tissue damage, while curved hits are more likely to cause unconsciousness.
What can be done? The truth is that while officials and coaches have tried to mitigate as much harm to the players as possible, injuries are still occurring daily. While new research comes out on what to do to make these sports safer and researchers debate on the best way to treat traumatic brain injury, time ticks by. Some of the first symptoms of TBI are headaches, depression, confusion, memory loss, loss of reasoning capability, and aggression. These problems can be quite problematic not just in high school, but in college and adulthood. Since the symptoms worsen over time, the students outlook becomes bleak.
This is a movement, a change in the way we view athletics, academics, behavior and health. We believe parents and students need to be educated on traumatic brain injury, symptoms to look for, and long term consequences if left untreated. It’s imperative that the student have full use of their mind, clear memory and full reasoning capability to succeed in life.
At Micronutrient Infusion Services we focus on helping the brain and body heal itself, decreasing inflammation levels and oxygenating tissues. Research has been done on Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and how it can help traumatic brain injuries as well as injuries to the muscles, ligaments and joints. Therapeutic doses (10-20g) of Vitamin C have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect.
More importantly, we want to help educate faculty, parents and students. We know that time is limited and very valuable, however this topic is serious. We want to be a resource for not only therapeutic applications, we will provide video presentations by medical experts and resource materials.
We have partnered with Net Medical Xpress Inc., a telemedicine company who employs over 500 Medical Doctors some of which specialize in Neurology and Orthopedics. Your athletes can have direct access to some of the best specialists in the country. We also have our own Nurse Practitioner (in office) who is Board Certified in Family Medicine who can provide examinations and medical clearance (if needed) for the young athlete.
Micronutrient Infusion Services has also partnered up with BlinkTbi Inc., manufacturer of a new medical device that can detect mild to moderate brain traumas before they can be diagnosed by an MRI. This technology measures the autonomic eyelid reflex response to a small puff of air to diagnose the TBI. We are pleased to announce that we will be the ONLY company in New Mexico that will have this technology next year (fall 2018). We will be the first clinic to receive a transportable handheld unit we can bring to your school to screen students on a regular basis. This new screening method will be a major advancement in ensuring the protection of the athlete in contact sports.
NeuroProtective effects of Glutathione