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Concussion Prevention

Three Ways To Reduce Risk of Concussion

 

William P. Meehan, III, M.D., Director of the Sports Concussion Clinic and the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention in the Division of Sports Medicine at Children's Hospital Boston, discusses three ways for an athlete to reduce the risk of concussion: cervical neck strengthening, playing with their head up, and being in good, general physical condition.

Neck Strengthening Exercises To Reduce Concussion Risk

When athletes see a hit coming, they instinctively flex their neck muscles. Since it is the acceleration of the brain after a force is applied or transmitted to the head that results in concussion, reducing the acceleration of the head after impact can reduce the risk of sustaining a sport-related concussion. One way to do that is by strengthening the neck muscles.

Steps Athletes Can Take To Reduce Concussion Risk

There are four steps an athlete, such as a hockey player, can take to reduce their concussion risk, says Dr. William P. Meehan, III: learning to play with their head up, strengthening their neck and shoulder muscles, not returning too soon from a previous concussion, and avoiding hits from behind.

Benefits of Contact and Collision Sports Usually Outweigh Risks

The benefits of participation, even in contact and collision sports, far outweigh the risks of concussion for children.  Even after sustaining a concussion, athletes should be encouraged to return to their preferred sports, as long as it is medically safe to do so.

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