- Wear Proper Equipment
Wearing the proper equipment when participating in a sport is crucial to avoiding a concussion. Helmets (and mouth guards!) are important.
- Avoid Using the Head to Strike
If you are tackling an opponent, use proper technique. Never dive in head first or target the head as a way to make a big hit.
- Strengthen Neck Muscles
Many studies have shown that working on your neck muscles can improve your natural resistance to concussions; it helps stabilize your head and spine.
- Practice Proper Techniques
In sports such as soccer, it is sometimes necessary to use your head to direct the ball. But make sure that you use the proper technique and aren’t just blindly smacking it with your head.
- Increase Awareness
A better vision on the field and heightened awareness can help you see and react to players attempting to tackle you. Avoiding the big hits that snap your head backwards is key.
- Buckle Your Seatbelt
Most of the non-sports related concussions occur in automobile accidents. Frequently it is from heads hitting the dashboard or steering wheel.
- Exercise More
Studies have shown that people who lead a more active lifestyle will have better balance and reaction times, possibly preventing falls and accidents that lead to a concussion.
- Keep the Stairs Clean
The other big place for a non-sports related concussion is on the stairs. Too frequently, people trip on clutter they leave on the stairs and fall down them, risking concussions and worse.
Education on what happens during a concussion, the dangers of getting a second concussion while healing from the first, and proper ways to avoid concussions is incredibly important.
- Diagnose Properly
Use neurological baselines to judge if a person is suffering from a concussion. Properly diagnosing a first concussion, and tracking recovery, will allow coaches and trainers to make a responsible decision on when a player is ready to return to play.
Too frequently, sideline protocols rely on subjective questions and basic physiological tests. But it is widely accepted that these protocols are very weak. One cannot diagnose a concussion in 5 minutes, especially not by asking a player if they are feeling OK and believe they’re ready to get back into the game. They have an incentive to say yes.
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