Kids + Concussions

How to Protect Your Child During the Sport Season

The fall season is an exciting time for parents and kids alike — but as a parent, you know that playing sports has some downsides for your kids. Namely, what are those hard hits doing to your child’s head and body?

While you can easily see a broken bone or lacerated skin, brain injuries and concussions are harder to detect — especially among young kids who seem to bounce back from anything. The following are a few things every parent needs to know about concussions — and how to help protect your sport-loving kids’ growing brains.

Don’t Expect Helmets to Protect Everything

Just because your child is wearing a helmet during practices and games — or during any type of helmeted sport or activitiy — doesn’t mean his or her head is fully protected.

A concussion happens when a traumatic blow causes the brain to shake inside the skull. In many cases, a helmet can’t protect from the impact of such a blow. Kids may think that because they’re wearing a helmet they’ll be protected — and that false sense of security may cause some kids to play more aggressively. That is why it’s important to explain to your child that a helmet won’t protect him or her from everything.

Start the Season Right

When you know your child is going to be playing sports during an upcoming season, consider getting an ImPACT or concussion baseline test.

Sports leagues, sports medicine clinics or even your pediatrician can provide the test or a prescription for it. The ImPACT test measures your child’s preseason cognitive function and the physical exam checks your child’s balance and visual tracking. Then, if your child suffers a concussion or a hard blow to the head, his or her doctor will have a benchmark to determine the extent of the injury, and advise if and when your child is able to play again.

While it might seem like a lot of hassle upfront for something that might not happen, you’ll be grateful to have that peace of mind if your child suffers a head injury during the season.

Get Educated About Concussions

Before your child starts playing sports, take the time to educate yourself and your child about concussion symptoms and treatment.

Any time your child receives a blow to the head during a practice or a game, the coach should remove him or her from the field and check for the following symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Difficulty remembering details or  concentrating
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Being dazed or confused
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Personality or behavioral changes

If your child has any of these symptoms after a hard hit or blow to the head, he or she shouldn’t return to play until cleared by a medical professional.

Parents who worry about their child playing sports and concussions have good reason to be concerned. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to help protect your child throughout the season. These precautionary steps allow your child to reap the benefits of playing a sport he or she loves, while giving you a little more peace of mind throughout the season.

Heber Valley Hospital’s sports trainers provide state-of-the-art injury prevention and treatment
services for athletes of every level. To schedule your child for an ImPACT or baseline concussion test,
call Heber Valley Hospital Physical Therapy at 435-657-4690.

Hypnotherapy is the application of the relaxed, yet highly focused state known as hypnosis for the purpose of achieving goals and creating lifelong transformation. Hypnosis is a natural state of mind with numerous beneficial characteristics.

In this natural state, our subconscious mind is open and receptive to powerful, positive healing ideas and imagery. In this state, we can learn to manage chronic pain, reduce stress, and change unwanted behaviors. But how and why does our subconscious work? Why can’t we just use our willpower to relax or reduce pain, eat healthier, or stop smoking? To answer these questions and more, consider the story of Chicken Little!

Chicken Little And The Flight Or Fight State

One fine morning, Chicken Little can be seen happily eating tasty corn in the barnyard, when an acorn suddenly falls on her head. Believing the sky is falling, she starts frantically running around, shouting, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” Chicken Little’s belief that the sky was falling was so strong that she convinced her emotions, which affected her behaviors and even her physiology. Her little chicken heart started to beat rapidly, her blood pressure went up, her cortisol levels increased, her immune system responses became suppressed, and her perception of pain increased. Chicken Little effectively, “stressed herself out.” What this story demonstrates is that our perceptions influence our autonomic nervous system. In the stress state, also known as the fight or flight state, the sympathetic nervous system is activated. Higher cognitive thinking decreases, and rational thought ceases. Our stress response is natural and designed to protect us from acute threats, but it becomes harmful when we live in that state 24/7. Sadly, many people are living today as if the sky is continuously falling. They are in a state of chronic, underlying stress, which puts them at increased risk of anxiety, depression, weight gain, sleep problems, and more.1

The Subconscious Mind Is Literal, So It Can’t Tell The Difference Between Fact And Fiction.

Living in a constant state of stress, predicting doom and gloom at every turn, means we are effectively saturating our subconscious mind with negative limiting beliefs or false truths. As Chicken Little shows us, this false truth can become our reality. Unlike our conscious mind, which is logical and analytical, the subconscious mind thinks in pictures and is literal. It can’t discern between fact and fiction and so believes what we tell and show it. This is especially true when experiencing a heightened state of emotion, such as fear. The subconscious mind is also the storehouse for all of our memories and beliefs, whether positive or negative. Although we like to think of ourselves as rational beings who make logical decisions, that’s not usually the case. It is our beliefs behind our emotions that drive our behaviors. That is why our conscious mind or willpower never wins over the subconscious.

Hypnotherapy Helps To Clear False Truths And Negative Imagery So You Can Achieve Your Goals.

Hypnotherapy is so effective for people because it works at the subconscious level. During a hypnotherapy session, we quiet the conscious mind so that we can speak directly to the subconscious mind. In the relaxed, yet highly focused state of hypnosis, we can effectively clear false truths and saturate the subconscious mind with healing imagery and positive healing ideas, also known as affirmations or suggestions. Hypnosis is a powerful state. On a physiological level during hypnosis, we shift from the fight or flight state (the sympathetic nervous system) to the resting or safe state, where the parasympathetic nervous system is activated. When the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, the perception of pain decreases (that’s how people learn to control and potentially even eliminate pain naturally). The immune and digestive systems get a boost, and higher mind problem-solving functions are supported.

What False Truths Have Resulted From Past Emotional And Physical Trauma?

People learn to rewire the brain to support their goals and to achieve transformation. Until we clear the negative beliefs and imagery that frequently result from past emotional and physical traumas, problems can remain or take a very long time to resolve. Pain worsens, self-worth suffers, unhealthy habits continue, and so on. Integral hypnotherapy does not involve reliving or talking through the details of past emotional or physical trauma. Integral hypnotherapists only need to understand what false truths resulted from a past trauma that may block a person’s ability to achieve their goals. They then work with the individual, using evidence-based protocols to reverse those limiting beliefs and saturate their subconscious mind with positive healing ideas and imagery that support their desired transformation.

You May Not Know It, But You Are Already Experienced At Self-Hypnosis!

Many people wonder if hypnotherapy will work for them or if they can be hypnotized. Although hypnotherapy is not appropriate for everyone, the vast majority of the population can learn to use their mind to achieve a state of hypnosis. Most people are surprised to learn that hypnosis is a natural state of mind that we all experience twice daily, upon waking and just before falling asleep. During these times, your brainwaves are predominantly in the alpha state – actually in the lower end of alpha and the top of theta. Experiencing the therapeutic benefits of self-hypnosis is grounded in science and human physiology, not magical or wishful thinking. To get the most benefit from a hypnotherapy session, you must be highly motivated to achieve your goals, have an open and receptive mind, and be willing to do the self-care work between sessions. A good imagination helps, too, as visualization techniques are heavily used.

All Hypnosis Is Self-Hypnosis.

No one can control your mind during hypnosis or make you do silly things or act in ways that are against your moral code. That’s a Hollywood myth that makes for a scary movie or entertaining stage act, but it is patently untrue. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You are responsible for your own mind and how you use it. People can learn to control their pain in hypnosis. That’s more control, not less. Learning self-hypnosis is a re-education process and a skill. A good hypnotherapist teaches you to fish; they don’t just give you the fish. In only a few sessions, people can learn the lifelong skills they need to achieve their goals. Changing the beliefs that are behind the emotions and behaviors is the key to creating lasting transformation!

Is Hypnotherapy Right For Me?

For help with pain and other ailments, your medical provider’s or mental health provider’s approval is required to add hypnotherapy to your treatment plan. While hypnotherapy may have many beneficial effects, it is not a substitute for medical treatment or psychotherapy.

Audrey Holocher is a Certified Medical Support Clinical Hypnotherapist specializing in evidence-based protocols for natural, safe pain control, stress reduction, and behavioral change. she has an M.S. degree in Environmental Science and Engineering, a B.S. degree in Food Science and Technology, and is a Certified Narrative Consultant and Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). more information at wasatchhypnotherapy.com.