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Health, Concussion

Avoid Conditioning Fails During Concussion Rehab

Avoid Conditioning Fails During Concussion Rehab
Published: 2021-08-07

High-performing athletes are compared to sports cars—finely tuned and requiring intense maintenance.

Then a high-speed wipe-out happens and forget maintenance while repair and replace takes over.

In the case of a sports wipe-out—or specifically a concussion—the finely tuned conditioning of the athlete’s body is at risk of deteriorating quickly, delaying return to competition even after safety protocols are met.

A 2018 paper in Frontiers in Neurology, by researchers in Manitoba and Winnipeg, and Buffalo, says:

Abrupt cessation of physical exercise, such as during injury, illness, or due to other factors, can lead to rapid declines in cardiorespiratory and metabolic functioning and pronounced performance loss.”

And continues: 

“Experimental studies suggest that even brief periods of restricted physical inactivity or bed rest can have negative effects on cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, metabolic, endocrine, hematologic, and psychological functioning.”

The athlete, the team, the coaches are versed in the concussion dangers, adhering to and endorsing the protocols for rehabilitation.  Yet, each of them yearns for a quick return to safe and former levels of performance.   While safety is paramount if conditioning declines the return is delayed.

The highly detailed study we reviewed and urge interested parties to absorb creates programs to expedite the conditioning aspect during the concussion rehabilitation period.

Specifically, the study states:

“The goals of an individually tailored rehabilitation program are to initiate evidence-based rehabilitation strategies that target the clinico-pathophysiological features responsible for acute concussion symptoms and help maintain the athlete’s physical fitness level.”

The researchers conclude:

“Combining the results of a comprehensive clinical history, physical examination, and graded aerobic exercise testing, this approach allows clinicians to work together to develop an individually-tailored program that promotes the active rehabilitation of acute concussion while minimizing physiological deconditioning”