What are the most common symptoms observed/reported by parents?

Headaches, appearing unbalanced or uncoordinated, sleeping more than usual, more irritable than usual, forgetting simple things.

What are the most common symptoms observed/reported by children?

Headaches, fogginess or “things not being sharp,” photosensitivity, sadness, difficulty remembering things.

What are some neck strengthening exercises that could help athletes in the prevention of concussion?

Research and studies have shown that strengthening the neck muscles for both male and female athletes can reduce the risk of sports-related concussions. A stronger neck reduces the acceleration of the head after an impact, slowing the acceleration of the brain after the force is applied.

Simple neck strengthening exercises include:

The athlete holds an appropriately sized weight in each hand, with the arms extended at the side, and then raise their shoulders, lifting the weight of the dumbbell, and then slowly relaxing to the starting position.

Dumbbell Press
The athlete raises his or her arms so the elbows are even with the shoulders and flexed at approximately 90 degrees.  From this starting position, the athlete then raises the dumbbell downward the ceiling while straightening the elbow. Then, the dumbbell is returned to the starting position.

Neck Resistance Exercises
The athlete places his or her right hand on the right side of his or her head. The neck muscles are flexed and pushed against the hand in an effort to touch the right ear to the right shoulder, but, because the athlete is resisting, the head doesn't actually move. The athlete should hold this position in active resistance for about 5 to 10 seconds. The exercise can then be performed on the left side of the head, front of the head, and back of the head.

Rotational resistence exercises are similar: the athlete places his or her hand against the side of the forehead and then attempts to rotate the head towards the right or the left while nodding (like saying "no"). This motion is resisted by the hand so there is no actual movement of the head. Again, the athlete should hold the position in active resistence for about 5 to 10 second and then repeat in the opposite direction.

Proper Technique Supervision
As with all resistance training, the emphasis should be on proper and safe technique. Younger athletes who are unfamiliar with resistance training should be supervised by an adult with expertise. The descriptions outlined above are for descriptive purposes only; anyone planning on engaging in them should consult professional assistance.

Adapted from Moms Team. For more information, click here.

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