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Science is beginning to understand that healthy athletes do not always recover from brain injuries or cumulative trauma. Brain damage from a multitude of injuries, both significant and seemingly harmless, accumulate and may prevent an athlete from performing at their full potential.

In athletes, cumulative injuries may manifest as a momentary slowing of reflexes, a slight delay in decision-making, a loss of confidence, the need for ADD medicine, or cravings for nicotine, salt, or sugar. The accumulating damage is too subtle to be detected by MRI or CT scans, and is now referred to as microdamage. Over time the accumulating microdamage may be of such significance that it quietly defines whether or not you have a successful career in baseball.

Many of the symptoms from a concussion or even sub-concussive head impacts cause damage to the autonomic nervous system, and often result in suboptimal delivery of oxygen to the brain.

Baseball is a game of consistency requiring a multitude of split second decisions so the slightest impairment in a player’s reaction time can mean the difference between an out and a runner scoring. Because of cumulative brain injury (CBI), athletic performance suffers and games will be lost.

Studies suggest that approximately 50% of the population is living with the effects of cumulative brain injuries. CBI is the underlying cause of attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraines or depression. Their symptoms often include heartburn, headaches, or dizziness. The surprise is that their CBIs are not only from common concussions but also develop after less obvious events.

CBIs may be the result of heat stroke, excessive reactions to vaccines, infections, or the result of an intense emotional event such as the death of a family member.

While CBIs potentially affect most areas of the brain, the damage done to the autonomic nervous system is responsible for the most noticeable physical and cognitive symptoms. Damage to the autonomic nervous system is easily detected using a rapid, non-invasive process called spectral analysis.

Once detected, the damage to the brain and autonomic nervous system can be reversed within a few months of treatment. Spectral analysis is used to monitor progress and pinpoint recovery.

A healthy brain with improved concentration and quicker reaction times is the ultimate sports advantage; the Autonomic Advantage ™.

To learn more about autonomic testing and whether past brain injuries may be limiting your sports performance contact me at, 623-208-4226, or go to I am Dr. Patrick Nemechek, D.O., an internal medicine doctor in the Phoenix area and I can make you a better athlete.

© Copyright 2016.  Dr. Patrick M. Nemechek and Jean R. Nemechek.  All rights reserved.

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