Discussion in 'Health Tips for the Martial Artist' started by Lisa, Apr 10, 2006.
Interesting article about relying on athlete response to diagnosing a concussion:
Doctors are *always* going to recommend avoiding head trauma.
One thing to consider, however (someone with more knowledge please correct me if I'm wrong as I am not a medical professional, although I have grown up around the profession -- dad is a doc)
is that concussions are in part caused by the brain moving around and smacking against the inside of your skull.
Non-injurious head contact can (so I've heard) "firm up" the brain so it doesn't slosh around so much.
From what I understand, this is why some people seem impossible to knock out (although they are still susceptible to concussions).
zDom, I honestly have never heard of "firming up" your brain. How does one do that?
Without non-injurious head contact?
Breakfalling, I would think, may do so as it also tends to firm up the other jiggly innards.
"A concussion occurs when the head hits or is hit by an object, or when the brain is jarred against the skull, with sufficient force to cause temporary loss of function in the higher centers of the brain."
(bold added by me) from http://neurology.health-cares.net
"The brain is made of soft tissue and is cushioned by spinal fluid. It is encased in the hard, protective skull. When a person gets a head injury, the brain can slosh around inside the skull and even bang against it. This can lead to bruising of the brain, tearing of blood vessels, and injury to the nerves."
(bold again added by me) from http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/safety/first_aid/concussions.html
I found this page: http://tkdtutor.com/11Training/Knockouts.htm
which gives advice on how to prevent being knocked out, but wasn't able to confirm the idea of "firming up" your brain anywhere (have to get back to work...)
I'll try to get back to you on that. I'm pretty sure I got it from a reliable source, but it's been awhile.
Lisa, I am going to have to ask that you ignore my claim of being able to "firm up" the brain.
While it could possibly be true, the source where I heard it from could have been wrong -- especially since I am presently unable to find anything which confirms this theory.
It is better to err on the side of caution, after all.
Everything I've read over the last couple of hours indicates you may be able to increase your resistance to knockouts/concussions by strengthening the neck and jaw muscles.
I see no health hazards or drawbacks in that approach, so for the time being that is the only approach I will recommend.
It is important, in my opinion, to be able to defend yourself even after receiving a hard blow to the head that puts you in that dreamy state that must be one of the less-severe levels of concussion.
I've personally done the above by engaging in heavy to full contact sparring with my former TKD instructor. I've never, on the other hand, subjected any of my students to that kind of sparring or recommended that take part in it as, again, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Growing up, I've been hit in the head a lot but never hard enough to knock me out (hard enough to leave one permanent dent in my skull, however....)
I guess it's kind of like saying, "I made it over to this side of the chasm by walking across that extremely dangerous bridge that might break and dump you into the chasm. I advise you find another way here as that bridge is definately not safe."
I have no idea at all what a safe route here might be, however.
Anybody out there have any ideas? Is conditioning against head trauma possible?
I'd also like to add that you should never let a person with a suspected head injury go to sleep for at least 3-4 hours afterward. If they report being sleepy, or seem drowsy, call 911 or get them to the ER. They could be slipping into a coma.
From Aetna Inteli-health Website (information reviewed by faculty at Harvard Medical School):
(Bold added by me) Something to remember if an athlete is injurred in a sparring match or practice and complains about headache.
The complete web article on concussions, including symptons, when to call 911, treatment, and prevention, may be found here:
zDom, back in the day someone else made a similar suggestion. I talked to a couple people with actual professional experience in treating concussions - two physicians, a former Green Beret who was a "super medic" and combat surgeon and to a paramedic. They thought your idea of "firming up the brain" and the idea that having strong neck and jaw muscles could prevent concussions was (and I quote) "Incredibly dangerous", "suicidal", "insane", "Where do martial artists make up this bull****?" and a few things less printable.
What happens when you "toughen up" your brain by getting hit is that you lose brain cells. They don't grow back except for pregnant women. If you want to do serious drinking later on you will need those extra brain cells
How about wearing a motorcycle helmet when you spar?? ;-) Seriously tho - short answer is no. Scar tissue or dead areas on the brain are not to be recommended. And there is no known way to "firm up" cerebro-spinal fluid, which is what the brain is surrounded by, nor would you want to, it's there for good reason.
I used to play rugby union before i got into martial arts and was knocked out playing a state match... apparently after i was taken from the field i came to and was begging the coach to let me back on - i have no memory of this now. Thank the stars he knew enough to keep me still and under observation until i could be taken to hospital.
Good Points!! I'd also add that in many areas, while you may 'suspect' a concussion, and take appropriate steps to assist the person, unless your a qualified medical physician (some areas may include nurses, ANRP, PA, or Medic) you cannot treat and release a suspected concussion person. You have to seek medical treatment on the spot and/or call for EMS.
I just got my first concussion this past Saturday (during my grand champion sparring match). Had a wicked headache afterwords, meds didn't help too much... went to bed around midnight that evening, woke up around 5am and threw up... called my mom who's a doctor and she told me to go to the ER and get a CT scan. Luckily CT scan did not show any serious damage, but the ER doc agreed that I had a concussion and needed to take it easy for a week and to get rechecked next week before I start sparring again.
How long should one wait before doing "serious" (aka tournament) sparring after a concussion? I have another tournament next month that I was looking forward to rematching this girl I fought on Saturday...but I'm not sure if one month is too short of a time before risking re-injury. My brain is something I definitely don't want to permanently damage!
That's a tricky question. Did they happen to mention what grade of concussion you had?
In GENERAL, it's ok to return to contact sports when you have been symptom free for a minimum of one week.
The key there is SYMPTOM FREE. Not mild symptoms. No symptoms.
Get guidance from your doctors. You may want to consult a sports medicine doc or a neurologist. We've really learned how important it is to properly treat concussions and to really be sure that you've recovered before you risk further injuries over the last several years. You might use this as an opportunity to help introduce concussion management programs to your school.
Im no doctor, but i do know that even risking aggravating a concussion is not good. Dont do it. Let it heal, completely.
Even if you cant rematch her, dont sweat it. Theres always next time. Then you can be even more prepared, and dish out more of a comeback. Patience!
very good information ... everyone should know this and keep it in mind
I have had 5 known concussions, and had a metal shunt in my noggin for a while. Three from sports (two college football), two from auto accidents (not my fault). My advise, live life without fear, it only comes around once. My advice, don't be stupid with risk.123
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