Should I return to athletics?
After a concussion injury has been established and symptoms have been noted and are being monitored, an athlete should not return to play as long as persistent deficits are present. Persistent symptoms indicate that the injury has not properly healed. I emphasize athlete because military veterans often do not have a choice about their participation. We do not have any physiological standard testing to determine when a concussion injured person has completely healed, so by nature all determinations are subjective. In neurology literature, watchful waiting and repeated reassessment by a neurologist is recommended.
What about treatment?
If you search the internet (military, prominent hospital, and government websites) you will find many kinds of therapies to help patients with concussive brain injury recover. It is always possible to retrain even a very injured brain. Our brains are amazing and designed to continue to learn and develop throughout our lifetime. We can rewire, re-network, recover brain function; some examples are seen with horse therapy, service dogs, cognitive therapy, neurobiofeedback, and therapeutic exercise. The critical therapeutic choice that is missing is to actually heal the brain injury. The first recognized therapy for healing the brain is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy or HBOT.
What should I do if I’ve suffered a concussion?
If you have had a recent concussion, sleep is important. Sleeping is healing. Make sure that you are eating well in order to recover. Eat clean (no GMO’s, no microwave, no processed food, and don’t drink water out of plastic water bottles.) Get your protein from vegetarian, grass–fed or organic sources. Eat good fats like avocados and nuts. Eat your vegetables and fruits – vine-ripened and with the peels.
A useful supplement is Ambrotose (as “manna bears”). It is a “smart sugar” supplement. Smart sugars form critical structures on the cell surface to achieve effective cell–to –cell signaling. Read more about smart sugars at www.mannatech.com and purchase on amazon.com. In addition, make sure you have your vitamins, electrolytes and trace minerals; Oxylent is a good source (when taken with water daily).
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy will promote brain healing through mechanisms of promoting stem cell mobilization, direct cellular healing through increased oxygen delivery and upregulation of healing processes and down regulation of destructive processes and new blood vessel growth. Injured tissue heals, and HBOT reduces inflammation. Researchers have an accumulation of before and after SPECT scans and videos demonstrating the positive healing effects of HBOT for concussion. HBOT @ 1.5 ata with 100 % medical oxygen 40 – 100 one hour treatments is very, very safe therapy.
Are additional therapies needed?
Some patients with concussion have more serious injury symptoms and will benefit from specific therapies. For example, a patient who is having difficulty with visual fixation and follow, which manifests as severe visual fatigue when reading or looking at a computer screen, may benefit from a neuro–optometry assessment. It is important to identify specific areas of difficulty that the person with concussion injury is experiencing so additional therapies can support recovery. There will be significant recovery with HBOT alone, but additional therapy is sometimes needed. Exercise is important, too.