Consistency Is The Difference
The difference between good athletes and outstanding athletes is consistency. At the collegiate and professional level, athletes have a level agility, speed and reflexes that exceeds the vast majority of the general population. But what defines then difference between athletes at this higher level.
Certainly a select few have physical and mental capabilities that surpass the others but for the rest the difference is subtle. It’s the occasional extra hit or avoided error. A split second of hesitation by one athlete is the difference between a missed grounder or fly ball, and an easy out by another who doesn’t hesitate.
What defines the difference between these 2 athletes? Both train hard, are in peak physical fitness and have equal intellect about the game. The difference can seem invisible to the naked eye.
Brain Injuries Lead to Inconsistent Performance
The difference is that one is still feeling the effects of a concussion or traumatic brain injury from their athletic past, and the other is not. The past brain injury they didn’t fully recover from has slowed their reflexes, and blunted their concentration just enough to lead to a split second of hesitation.
Traumatic brain injuries cause dizziness, poor concentration, altered balance, slowed reflexes, and headaches because the brain damage makes it difficult for the nervous system to deliver the proper amount of oxygen to the brain. All of these symptoms are the result of poor brain function because of an inadequate supply of oxygen.
If the damage from prior traumas does not heal correctly, the athlete’s impaired concentration and reflexes will affect their performance forever. Their symptoms are often so subtle they go unnoticed but are still significant enough to make the difference between a good and outstanding athlete.
A wide variety of causes of brain injuries are being recognized as contributing as much brain damage as a traditional concussion or traumatic brain injury.
Cumulative Brain Injuries Impair Overall Performance
Unfortunately, if we don’t recover from a brain injury, the damage from subsequent injuries builds on top of those from our past. The additive effects of one non-repaired brain injury upon another is called cumulative brain injury or CBI.
The minor concussion from an automobile accident will worsen the pre-existing the brain damage caused by the death of a loved one. Individually, both events can seem common, minor and fleeting, but the cumulative effect can be enough to slow an athlete’s reaction time a fraction of a second when at bat or fielding the ball. That momentary hesitation is probably the biggest difference between a good and an outstanding player.
A squad of 25 players might have 10-15 athletes with chronic unresolved brain injury, and whose reaction times are not as quick as they could be.
The effects of chronic brain injury are often very subtle, and can present as simple neck pain or tightness when sitting still, recurrent headaches, the occasional lightheadedness when standing upright, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, or cravings for tobacco, bubble gum or salted sunflower seeds.
Microglia-Activation Prevents Brain Recovery
Changes in our food supply, nutritional health, exposure to preservatives, antibiotics, inadequate sleep are making it more and more difficult for us to fully recover from physical as well as emotional brain injuries.
A phenomena called microglia-activation is now being understood as the major reason why individual’s do not fully recover from traumatic and non-traumatic brain injury.
The chronic symptoms of traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries are due to damage of the autonomic nervous system (ref. – Autonomic Nervous System Damage in Concussion), and can be easily detected by a physician experienced in autonomic recovery.
Although the brain injury may have occurred last week, last year or even a decade ago, the damage will all look the same on autonomic testing. Even the cumulative damage from multiple minor concussions cannot be differentiated from that of a single more substantial brain injury.
Reaching the Concussion Ceiling
The most important aspect is that the athlete will reach a point when they can no longer improve athletically because of the chronic damage they have accumulated. Once improvement plateaus, they have hit the concussion ceiling.
The concussion ceiling of autonomic damage cannot be overcome by willpower, extra training or the next concoction of vitamins, herbs and protein powder. The brain needs help repairing the damage it should of repaired originally but couldn’t.
To determine if the concussion ceiling exists you need to have a full analysis of the autonomic nervous system by a physician specializing in autonomic recovery.
There are very few autonomic specialists, and most do not know how to coax the body into repairing the damage. Reversing the underlying autonomic concussion damage is the most difficult aspect in breaking through the concussion ceiling.
Quick, Portable and Precise Brain Testing
Up until recently, reversal of chronic autonomic damage was thought to be impossible but thanks to new advances in our understanding of metabolic and inflammatory dysregulation, and stem cell mechanics, chronic brain injury even decades old can be repaired in a few months.
The first and most important step to concussion recovery is obtaining a full autonomic analysis utilizing a process called spectral analysis. Spectral analysis is a scientifically-proven methodology that can easily detect the wide range of autonomic damage being reported in sports-related injuries, and has been used in nearly 3,000 scientific studies.
Brain Recovery Only Takes a Few Months
Once the autonomic damage is detected, a variety of treatment elements are used at once to increase brain stem cell longevity and functionality. The Autonomic Advantage™ Brain Recovery Program commonly involves some dietary changes such as reversal of abnormal brain inflammation, rebalancing omega fatty acid intakes, reducing of systemic metabolic inflammation, neuromodulation and occasional short courses of prescription medications.
Athlete’s often begin to feel some improvement in their symptoms within 4-6 weeks. Athlete’s with addiction to chewing tobacco 0r attention deficit disorder often feeling a significant improvement in their symptoms within a few months, and many are able to quit tobacco or discontinue ADD medications within 2-4 months.
If any of your athletes seem to be playing inconsistently, hesitate occasionally or are not improving as much as they should, you might be witnessing the effects of the concussion ceiling.
Contact Dr. Nemechek if you might be interested having his staff screen your team for possible autonomic brain injuries that are limiting their full potential.