Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Using Dynavision for Concussion Prevention

This week my response is on the article "Clear eyes on the field", by Katie Pence and Alice Sampson. Many have a difficulty with their vision, thus making players in football more likely to get tackled. Luckily some researchers at University of  Cincinnati have teamed up with sports medicine to improve players vision. They have created a Concussion Prevention Program that will help athletes "improve their peripheral vision and neurovisual performance to protect themselves from potentially violent collisions." They use a technology system called Dynavision D2 which is a light board that tracks the players reaction times. This allows them to create a baseline and over time improve the athletes vision for a faster processing speed. The University of Cincinnati has had a lot of success with the Dynavision program and highly recommend other schools, universities, and professional teams try it. The article also says that more youth sports should implement these training strategies into their programs.

I think this is a great program. Using the light board looks challenging yet fun. I'd wouldn't mind trying it myself. This is the first time I have heard of a concussion prevention program. Often you only see recovery or baseline testing, which are all great, but its nice to see doctors and scientists working to try to prevent potentially dangerous hits. At the end of the article is a quote by a PhD, Neurology professor, Joe Clark that says,“I definitely don’t want to see sports vanish because of injury, but it’s important to continue research on brain injuries and other related conditions, and it’s important to keep our athletes and our coaches educated. We’re much better off than where we were 8 to 10 years ago.” I definitely agree with Clark, long term benefits of sports and exercise far outweigh the risks of injury. 
UC athletes undergo Dynavision training

Link to article click here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Healthy Minds Visualized

Since my blog is about the brain, I decided to find infographics that explain how to improve brain health. This is important for everyone to know about so they can have a more peaceful life. In this first infographic there is a big emphasis on exercising and how it benefits your brain. Working out can improve a lot of brain functions such as the temporal lobe. As it states the temporal lobe’s job is to store sensory memories. Exercising also improves your mental performance like your focus and it helps prevent the brain from aging quickly, leading to dementia or Alzheimer's. It shows that exercising will also improve your coordination. Working out is a great way to relax and get your mind off things while improving your health at the same time.
Image result for infographic healthy brain

Eating right is important not only for staying physically fit. Healthy foods also keep you mentally fit. The second infographic shows examples of food that is great for your brain and food that is not so great. One of the healthy foods is avocados. They contain monosaturated fat which helps with blood flow and they lower blood pressure. Increased blood flow to the brain helps with enhancing mental tasks such as memory, attention span, and reaction time. Another item on the infographic is blueberries. Studies have found that blueberries help prevent oxidative stress and they also reduce Alzheimer's disease and dementia effects. A third food group is nuts and seeds. These have a good amount of vitamin E, which is said to reduce old age cognitive decline. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce are another great food source for slowing down cognitive decline. Out of all these healthy foods, my favorite of course would have to be the dark chocolate. Dark chocolate boosts endorphins which are chemicals that give you a positive feeling. Dark chocolate also improves blood flow and leads to reduced stress. Add these brain boosting foods to your diet and im sure you will be doing a better job at maintaining a healthy mind for the rest of your life.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Review of Exoshield Head Guard

With the rise of awareness in head injuries for sports more protective gear has been worn by players in sports such as soccer or field hockey. If you're looking for a great product for head protection check out the Exoshield Head Guard created by Storelli. It's said to be the most protective head guard in the market. You may have seen professional soccer players such as Manchester United's Wayne Rooney use the product in the past. Many athletes use the extra protection after coming back from a head injury and many have seen benefits from it. The head guard is great for protection from cuts and bruises and the padding helps to absorb some of the impact of the ball.

Overall the product is lightweight, durable, and comfortable. When you first put it on, it may feel a little tight but it will stretch out and feel comfortable. Although it shouldn't be loose enough to slip off. Make sure to measure your head so you can get the correct size.

Once you have it on, it feels very light to wear. You almost forget you're wearing it. In the front there is enough padding to absorb the force of an impact such as heading a ball, but it's not too bulky to the point that it interferes with your accuracy. So don't worry about it hindering your game performance once you get used to it. In the back there is extra padding as you are more likely to make contact in those areas with the ground or other players.

The headgear was also well made with top quality materials such as viscoelastic protective foams which are also used in military combat helmets. The fabric also does a good job of wicking away sweat yet it doesn't smell bad after a long day of use.

If you're an athlete looking for some extra padding and protection I recommend trying out the Storelli Exoshield Head Guard, you wont be dissapointed.

Link to product on Amazon click here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Safety Changes to Football

         In recent years more research has been done on concussions especially when it comes to sports. In the article, "Not Safe for Children? Football’s Leaders Make Drastic Changes to Youth Game", Ken Belson discusses the future of youth football. The amount of participation in the sport has dropped, so action is being taken to make it safer. 
         He talks about the U.S.A Football organization making changes to the way players are positioned and the amount of players on the field. Players will no longer be using the three-point stance when starting plays. Instead, they will now be starting in a crouched position. The teams will have six to nine players on the field at once instead of eleven. Tackling will still be allowed but athletes are being taught a safer tackle style that already has led to a decrease in concussions. 
        The organization also promoted a program called Heads Up Football which is teaching schools safer ways to play while also giving them proper fitting safety gear, and further information on brain trauma. U.S.A Football is working hard to improve the lives of the athletes. Their executive director, Scott Hallenbeck says, "This is the future of the game. All of this is all about how we do a better job, and a smarter job around the development of athletes and coaches in the game of football."
        In my opinion it pleases me greatly to see that steps are being taken to improve the safety of the athletes. I'm not sure how much this new style of football is going to lead to less head injuries or any injury for that matter, since there will still be tackling. Players will still have to face impacts with other players and the ground. However I think the U.S.A Football organization is on the right track. The Heads Up Football sounds like a great idea. I believe the modified tackling will definitely prevent some concussions. With this change to football, I am sure there will be people that disagree and don't want to be told what to do. In the long run though, seems like it would be smarter to learn a new style of football than have to live with brain trauma for the rest of your life due to the repeated impacts from improper tackling.