School Trouble Linked to Concussions

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School Trouble Linked to Concussions


Back to school time is here and for many kids and teens, that means a return to sports. If your child plays contact sports, a new study has found yet another reason to prevent concussions: Students who suffer a concussion may face more school difficulties than their peers with other sports-related injuries.

The study, publish in the May 10 American Journal of Public Health, found that high school and college students who suffered at least one concussion had more trouble performing at a normal academic level one week later compared to students who injured their arms or legs.

'Concussed students typically return to school within a week after injury, while their brains are likely still recovering," said Erin Wasserman and colleagues from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, in New York.

The study authors said their findings should reinforce the need for return-to-learn guidelines and academic adjustments based on gender and concussion history.

For the study, the researchers analyzed visits to three emergency departments by high school and college students between September 2013 and January 2015. All of the students had a sports-related concussion or a musculoskeletal injury involving an arm or leg.

Using telephone surveys, the researchers compared self-reported academic problems after one week. The assessment was repeated one month after each student's trip to the emergency room. The study showed that concussed students faced more challenges. For instance, they were more likely to need tutoring and extra time to take tests.

The investigators also found that young women and students who had two or more previous concussions were more vulnerable to these negative effects. However, the learning difficulties did not persist long-term, the study authors noted in a news release from the American Public Health Association.

Researchers and physicians agree that all coaches and parents should be vigilant about watching for signs of concussion in young athletes. Signs to watch for in your young athlete include:
  • Appears dazed or stunned
  • Is confused about assignment or position
  • Forgets instructions
  • Is unsure of game, score or opponent
  • Moves clumsily
  • Answers questions slowly
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly)
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes
If you are concerned about your child, contact your physician or go to the Emergency Department.

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Get a Better Night's Sleep

Western Health Advantage partners with you for better health! This month they are sharing tips for a better night's sleep with our Care Begins With Me readers

In this 24/7 age...

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Get a Better Night's Sleep


Western Health Advantage partners with you for better health! This month they are sharing tips for a better night's sleep with our Care Begins With Me readers

In this 24/7 age, millions of people have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Are you one of them? Getting enough sleep is important for your health. When you get enough sleep, you:
  • Help brain function
  • Improve memory and judgement
  • Repair muscles, synthesize protein and release growth hormones
  • Reduce the likelihood of mood disorders like anxiety and depression
  • Reduce the likelihood of health risks like high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and obesity
Fortunately, getting a good night's sleep is largely under your control. It involves changing your sleep habits, your daily routine, and your attitudes about sleep. To help you sleep better:

Establish Relaxing Bedtime Rituals
  • Read a book or magazine, or listen to books on tape
  • Take a bath, which promotes drowsiness
  • Listen to soft music
  • Do easy stretching/relaxation exercises
  • Wind down with a favorite hobby
Make Your Bedroom Sleep Friendly 
A dark, quiet, cool and comfortable environment can help promote sleep. To help create this:
  • Make sure your bed is comfortable.
  • Cut down on outside noise with earplugs or a "white noise" appliance.
  • Block light with heavy curtains, blackout shades, or a sleep mask to block light. Cover electrical displays. 
  • Avoid using bright lights before going to bed. 
  • Keep the temperature comfortably cool and the room well ventilated.
  • Keep computers and television out of your bedroom. Establish in your mind that your bedroom is only for sleep and sex.
  • Keep pets out of your bedroom if they regularly wake you during the night.
Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
The best way to encourage sleep is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Keep a sleep journal to track your sleep and help see habits that are helping or sabotaging your sleep. 

Exercise at Least Three Hours before Bedtime
Exercise helps promote sleep, but in the short run it stimulates the body.

Things to Avoid Close to Bedtime
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Meals and Snacks
  • Fluids
Your daily routine, sleep schedule, and bedtime habits impact the quality of your sleep. Experiment with these tips and discover your personal prescription to a good night's rest.
 
When to Ask for Help
Not all sleep problems are easily treated and could suggest a sleep disorder such as apnea, restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy, or some other clinical sleep problem. If your sleep difficulties don't improve by following the tips here, consult your physician.

Western Health Advantage is a proud partner for Care Begins with Me 2016. Learn more about WHA at choosewha.com!


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