Concussions and student athletes: Get the facts from medical researchers

 

With the recent release of the movie “Concussion”, concussions, particularly in athletes, have become the center of public and media conversations.

Concussions are an important health issue and should certainly be taken seriously. But it’s also important to remember that care from a medical professional with expertise in concussion diagnosis and treatment can generally result in a positive outcome for the patient.

Steps have been taken by schools, medical professionals and legislators around the country to help bring awareness to concussions. Continue reading

Sleep and athletic performance go together

Sleep_and_Athletics_blog_photoWhen University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh recently said he believes that the No. 1 natural steroid is sleep, he voiced what sleep disorder physicians have known for years.

The link between sleep and athletic performance is not anecdotal. Studies show that sleep deprivation can decrease athletic performance, and extending sleep can improve athletic performance.

Sleep and timing

The same system that times sleep and wake (the circadian rhythm) also times peak performance, which can have ramifications for competition times and travel across time zones for competition.

  • In NFL games after 8 p.m. on the east coast, west coast teams are twice as likely to beat the point spread than east coast teams. This may be due to the fact that during late games, west coast teams (whose body clocks are still set on Pacific Standard Time) are playing closer to the peak time of physical performance.
  • After long-haul travel (6+ time zones) military personnel and elite athletes demonstrate reduced sprint speed, jump velocity, jump height and strength for up to 4-6 days. This is likely due to jet lag, where there is misalignment between the local time and the internal body clock, which disrupts sleep and physical performance.

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Concussion Clarity: A conversation with Dr. Jeff Kutcher

From headers in soccer to football tackles to hockey hits, today’s student athletes and their parents have many reasons to monitor brain health. Jeff Kutcher, M.D., Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of Michigan and the Director of Michigan NeuroSport, took audience questions in a live webcast on Thursday, August 13th. Watch the full Google Hangout below, or scroll down to read Dr. Kutcher’s take on a few important questions about concussions.

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Concussions not a death sentence for athletes

UM expert to present insight at SXSW festival

Every March, the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas becomes the epicenter of hip. At first glance, a neurology presentation doesn’t fit alongside the bands, innovative documentaries, and showcases of transformational technologies. Actually, at second glance it doesn’t either!Dejected

This is exactly why I’m partnering with Super Bowl champion and brain trauma patient advocate Ben Utecht to bring some sports neurology to SXSW. Ben is an accomplished musician and entertainer as well, so I’m hoping he can bring the hip.

Ben and I will be joined by New York Times sports contributor and Michigan State University sports journalism professor, Joanne Gerstner. Together, we hope to use the incredible social reach of SXSW to bring a well-measured, yet passionate, conversation about sports concussion to the masses. Our panel discussion “Does Playing Sports Equal Brain Damage” will be Friday, March 13, at 5 p.m. CT.

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