Is there a relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries?
What constitutes a concussion
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC): A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury—or TBI—caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth. This sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.
Symptoms of concussion
- somatic symptoms
- most common symptom
- present in 70% of concussed athletes
- myofascial tension headache — pain localized to posterior neck at base of skull
- post-traumatic headache — pressure localized to forehead and/or top of head
- balance problems
- nausea and/or vomiting
- vision changes
- sensitivity to light (photophobia) or sound (phonophobia)
- cognitive symptoms
- feeling “in a fog” or slowed down
- difficulty concentrating
- emotional symptoms
- sleep disturbance
- change in amount of sleep (more or less)
- difficulty falling asleep, insomnia
Signs of concussion
- many sports have established “mandatory signs of concussion”
- presence of these visible signs dictates further evaluation and often removal from play
- note, the specific signs and subsequent recommended action differs between sports
- loss of consciousness
- occurs in only ~10% of cases
- lying motionless > 5 seconds
- slow to get up
- confusion or disorientation
- clutching the head
- vacant look
- motor incoordination
The relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries
Sports injury trends show a clear relationship between concussions and ankle and knee injuries. Concussions lead to greater risk of ankle and knee injuries. Research has shown that the likelihood of a lower body injury, especially lateral ankle sprain, knee injuries and muscle strains increases by more than two times.
Frequency of concussions in sports
Estimates of numbers of sports related concussions range from 1.6-3.8 million per year and or 5-9% of sports injuries in the US. It is also noted that as many as 50% of concussions are not reported. It has been observed that 69% of athletes play with concussion symptoms.
How concussions are prevented
- Creating a safe playing culture – Instilling a culture based on values that include aspects such as teamwork, hard work and respectfulness helps to prevent concussions.
- Enforcing the rules – Decreasing the chances of angry outbursts that could lead to attacks under the guise of sports incidents by enforcing the rules consistently is another way concussions are prevented.
- Education on symptoms of concussions – With knowledge of the symptoms of concussion, players, coaches and families can more readily identify or seek evaluation and diagnosis when a concussion is suspected, and the risk of future concussions and other injury many be prevented. Playing with a prior concussion increases the risk of sustaining another concussion by 2 – 8 times.
- Evaluation and treatment as necessary
- Protective equipment – Head gear is written about with great frequency in sports articles as a key way to prevent concussion.
An innovative, complementary prevention solution
The risk of concussion rises with symptoms of concussions. Helmets and other preventative measures are limited at best in their abilities to prevent concussion. Innovative sole technology helps athletes control their motion and prevent the increased risk ankle, knee and foot injuries that arises in the aftermath of concussions and concussion symptoms.
Sports Engineering, Inc.’s (SEI) sole innovation, developed by the Worcester Polytechnic, Inst. mechanical engineering student team led by their professor, Dr. Christopher Brown, protects athletes from ankle, knee and foot injury without diminishing performance. A key feature of the sole is a patented split-sole that operates like an emergency feature to help avoid injury.
See video of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s sole innovation
Click here to see a brief video of the prototype of Sports Engineering, Inc.’s sole innovation that helps reduce the risk for ankle, knee and foot injury. SEI’s sole technology makes the game, the culture and the player safer, and can possibly contribute to preventing concussion via increasing overall player experience safety.