After the Hit: Self-Care and Support Following a Sport Concussion

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Sustaining a concussion takes its toll, both physically and emotionally.  Depending on severity, athletes may be instructed to alter their daily activities, including school, sports, and time with friends.  Concussion symptoms vary from one individual to the next; you may feel dizzy and nauseous, confused, or more emotional than usual.  Regardless of your experience it’s helpful to be prepared for the potential repercussions and how to best handle what happens after it happens. 

Self-Care and Relaxation

For athletes, the tendency is to go, go, go.  We’re used to being highly active, bouncing from one activity to another, eating dinner in the car on the way to the next practice.  And while being sidelined due to injury can be frustrating, it’s the perfect time to capitalize on this newfound free time.

In a previous blog post regarding performance anxiety, I touched upon the use of relaxation techniques.  These techniques can be equally as beneficial as a means of self-care.  Body scanning can be used to help increase self-awareness and redirect focus during moments of increased anxiety or difficulty falling asleep.  Think of it like counting sheep.  By engaging in body scanning, you’re giving yourself something [non-taxing] to do, rather than letting a stir of emotions occupy your mind.

[WHAT IS BODY SCANNING?  For an example, take a look here]

Support Systems

Suffering from a concussion can be isolating, especially when athletes are temporarily removed from their social environments (i.e. school and sport).  But it’s important to remember…you are not in this alone.  Take time to recognize your support systems, be it parents, siblings, physicians, coaches, teammates, or friends.  The collective goal is to get you better and back to sport (and everyday life!) symptom-free. 

Managing a concussion leaves us feeling like things are out of our control.  Use your resources!  Find ways to stay informed regarding your progress, keep motivated during your time off from school and sport, and stay connected to the people who have your back.  From the outside, it’s hard to “see” your symptoms; keep your communication lines open (don’t bottle it up!) and know that your support systems are there to help.

[For more information on concussions, visit http://www.themichelicenter.com/resources/concussion-prevention]

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