Why is Neuro Vision Therapy so important after a concussion or brain injury?
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. Rapid movement causes brain tissue to change shape, which can stretch and damage brain cells. This damage also causes chemical and metabolic changes within the brain cells, making it more difficult for cells to function and communicate. Since the brain is the body’s control center, the effects of a concussion can be far-reaching.
Concussions are usually not life-threatening, but the effects of a concussion can change a life and the injury should be treated seriously.
Common concussion signs include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Problems with balance
- Glazed look in the eyes
- Delayed response to questions
- Forgetting an instruction, confusion about an assignment or position, or confusion of the game, score, or opponent
- Inappropriate crying
- Inappropriate laughter
Concussion symptoms are what someone who is concussed will tell you they are experiencing. When responding to a possible concussion in a child, remember that a concussed child may not be able to clearly communicate the symptoms they are experiencing because of their age and limited vocabulary, and the fact that they have just experienced a brain injury. Concussion symptoms typically fall into four major categories:
1. Somatic (Physical) Symptoms
- Sensitivity to light
- Sensitivity to noise
2. Cognitive Symptoms
- Difficulties with attention
- Memory problems
- Loss of focus
- Difficulty multitasking
- Difficulty completing mental tasks
3. Sleep Symptoms
- Sleeping more than usual
- Sleeping less than usual
- Having trouble falling asleep
4. Emotional Symptoms
- Panic attacks
Complex recovery: Post-Concussion Syndrome
Recovering from concussion means your brain cells must return to the normal function by rebalancing levels of chemicals, like sodium and calcium, inside and outside of the cell. This process takes a lot of energy, so it is important to conserve energy during recovery. When properly managed, the majority of concussion symptoms will resolve within a couple of weeks, however over-exertion of brain cells during recovery can cause symptoms to persist for months or even years. A significant percentage (estimates vary between 10% and 30%) of concussion patients suffer from extended recovery, known as Post-Concussion Syndrome
Catastrophic re-injury: Second Impact Syndrome
During recovery, the brain is more vulnerable to re-injury. In rare cases, a second concussion sustained during recovery can cause the brain to undergo massive swelling. This extremely rare condition is known as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). Approximately half of SIS patients die from their injuries, and the survivors often suffer from life-long disability.
Strong visual skills are just as important as strong muscles and fitness. Athletes have to be able to process visual information very quickly so that they can respond to it. Like muscles, some visual skills can be improved with practice.
Here are some of the most essential visual skills that help athletes perform at the top of their game:
- Color vision. It’s a lot easier to recognize the difference between teammate and opponent when you can see the different jersey colors!
- Depth perception. Athletes need to be able to judge the distances of objects and other players.
- Dynamic visual acuity. Beyond just having clear vision, athletes need to be able to see fast-moving objects clearly too.
- Eye tracking. Athletes also need to be able to track fast-moving objects with their eyes instead of jeopardizing their balance by turning their heads or torsos.
- Eye-hand-body coordination. Being able to adjust the position of your body, hands, and feet based on what you see is essential for succeeding in sports.
- Peripheral vision. Athletes need to be able to react to what’s happening at the edges of their vision, not just the things happening straight ahead.
- Visual concentration. An athlete needs to be able to focus on what matters even when there are a lot of distractions trying to draw their eyes.
- Visual reaction time. The faster an athlete can process and respond to visual information, the faster they can get into position.
- Visualization. Athletes need to be able to picture different scenarios to prepare themselves for potential obstacles and opportunities — all while focusing on the events of the moment.
- Visual memory. An athlete must keep a great deal of visual information in their heads while playing, including the positions of other players based on where they saw them last.
If you want to learn more about how you can improve your visual skills or if you’re experiencing any changes in your eyesight or you have suffered a concussion – get in touch with us!
012 998 7592/3