As the mother of four Texas high school football players, the subject of concussions has always been one of frequent sideline conversations. Will Smith's movie of the same title highlights the need for a SERIOUS conversation about the reality of brain injury in sport.
I have a friend whose child was receiving repeated concussions in their chosen sport (NOT football and one that doesn't have any protective headgear). My friend told me about their experience with the "traditional" concussion treatment at a Dallas hospital acclaimed for their "cutting edge" protocol. Their daughter was seeing a physician sought after throughout the southwestern United States. This "cutting edge" protocol consisted of a computer test to measure response times and appropriate answers. Based on the results, this physician would recommend time periods of rest from school, driving, sports, etc. And that was all. They offered no real treatment other than rest. I was truly surprised. Rest isn't treatment---rest is just the absence of potential for additional injury.
Their child was suffering from headaches, was photosensitive, could not focus to read and was lethargic. I offered my expertise and recommended hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I referred them to Texas Sports Hyperbarics, where their child received 10 sessions of hbot (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) within two weeks.
After only the third session, I received a tearful phone call from the mom. She had her child back---no headaches, energy restored, reading up a storm and catching up with missed schoolwork easily.
This is not an isolated incident. Concussions are one version of a traumatic brain injury. Dr. Paul Harch has been working with veterans at his clinic in New Orleans and achieving miraculous results. Various clinics around the country have many of the same stories to tell. Hyperbarics has no side effects---in fact it will help heal the other bumps, bruises and inflammatory responses that are part of athletic competition.
Professional athletes have been using hbot to speed healing for decades---Joe Namath even has a treatment center working on this very issue. However, most amateur athletes do not have the resources afforded to the pros. And it is time for hbot to move out of the realm of the rich and famous and within the grasp of everyday players.
What bothers me is all the ballyhoo about concussions with NO MENTION of possible treatments. Why do we have a feature-length film about concussions starring Will Smith, but not any time given to help?
YES, we do need to take every precaution to protect our athletes. YES, we need coaches/players/parents to be more educated about the possible symptoms of concussions. But why are we stopping there? Let's please educate physicians about treatment for concussion! If you or someone you know sustains a concussion, please point them to the links in this blog. They will be glad you did!