Four things all trainers should know about clients and brain trauma.
Football players aren’t the only ones at risk for concussions. Your active-sports-oriented clients are too—and the injury could have serious consequences if not properly treated. Here, Dr. Theresa Miyashita, PhD, ATC, NASM-CES, PES, program director for athletic training at Sacred Heart University, shares how to recognize symptoms and talk to clients if you suspect something’s up.
1. Know It When You See It
Of the more than 30 symptoms, the most common are headache and dizziness, followed by nausea, ringing in the ears, sensitivity to light, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. If a client is experiencing any of these, ask if he’s hit his head or suffered whiplash recently. “If the answer is yes,” says Dr. Miyashita, “it’s a concussion until proven otherwise.”
2. Stop Training Immediately
You should avoid stimulating neurons during the healing process. At Sacred Heart, concussed students are pulled from class and asked to refrain from using computers and smartphones until symptoms have passed.
3. Be Firm
All that rest—and lost training—can be a drag for an athlete. But don’t give in. If they’re pushing you to train, say, “I can’t train you without clearance from your physician.” It sounds harsh, but you could be in legal hot water if you knowingly train a concussed client.
4. Start Back Slowly
Once the client is cleared, Dr. Miyashita recommends the National Athletic Trainers’ Association’s five-step Return to Play progression, where each step—light exercise, sport-specific activities without contact, noncontact and resistance training, unrestricted training, and return to play—takes 24 hours.
NASM's The Training Edge Sept/Oct 2014