As seen on Patch: Sports Safety and the Growing Risk of Concussion

As seen on Patch: Sports Safety and the Growing Risk of Concussion

The start of the school year means the start of sports season. Helping kids to compete safely in sports is of paramount importance. According to the Center for Disease Control, kids and young adults make nearly 250,000 emergency room visits each year as a result of brain injuries from sports and recreation. And that doesn’t include visits that young people made to their family doctor, or those who don’t seek any help.

This has become an important issue, and recently, the President hosted the Healthy Kids and Safe Sports Concussion Summit to help ensure children’s safety in sports and to address the growing risk of concussions in youth. Obama urged caution, highlighting new research efforts focusing on brain injuries as well as new initiatives to educate the public on concussions and give parents, coaches, clinicians, and young athletes the tools to prevent, identify, and respond to concussions.

Acquired brain injury is an insult to the brain and can come in many forms, including: traumatic brain injury, closed head injury, cervical trauma syndrome and/or stroke. This can produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness, and may result in impairment of cognitive abilities, sensory processing and/or physical function.

“The brain directs visual function, visual perception, visual motor integration and visual imagery. Even patients with the mildest form of acquired brain injury can present with symptoms that impact day-to-day performance and overall visual comfort”, says Dr. Melissa Lambright, Doctor of Optometry and Founder of SIGHT in West Hartford.

The visual systems that can be impacted by acquired brain injury include:

Visual Function (eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming)

  • Visual Motor Integration (the eyes directing the body)
  • Visual Perception (processing visual information)
  • Visual Imagery (visualizing a story or visualizing the next step of a problem)

Dr. Lambright says, “ The common vision conditions that result from brain injury are double vision (Diplopia),visual field loss, reading problems (Convergence Insufficiency), visual balance disorders, unilateral neglect, and dizziness and nausea (Visual Vertigo Syndrome)”.

“SIGHT Vision Therapy [SIGHTvt] professionals are specifically trained to work with acquired brain injury patients. An individualized treatment plan is developed for each patient that follows the body’s natural developmental process, based on a series of tests that assess a patient’s visual system. Our goal is that patients can return to the activities they enjoy with success comfortably.”