March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Written By: Riedell | March 9, 2012

As a figure skater, falling is inevitable. But we’ve all the learned the importance of picking ourselves up to get back on the ice. Brain Injury Awareness Month aims to spread knowledge and increase mindfulness of brain injuries in any sport or profession and it definitely resonates with figure skaters. According to the Brain Injury Association, nearly 1.7 million people suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. And did you know that high-level skaters can reach speeds of 20 mph during their programs? Falls at speeds like those are dangerous and can lead to head injuries including concussions.

According to the Brain Injury Association, while a concussion may resolve quickly, in some cases the effects of a concussion can last for months.  In addition, the long-term consequences from sustained, repeated concussions can be extensive. Symptoms of a concussion can include:

  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Poor concentration
  • Nausea

These symptoms usually resolve within hours or a few days. Some people do have more persistent symptoms, which can include trouble sleeping, irritability or visual disturbances.

Doctors are now collecting data to determine whether spinning contributes to mild concussions in figure skaters and whether any damage follows these athletes off the ice long after they’ve hung up their skates. As Dr. David Wang points out, this may be unrecognized for some time and is due to the pressure a skater feels from the force of repeated spinning.

No matter your level of skating, prevention can start with taking the correct safety measures. A helmet is always a good way to prevent painful head injuries. The Ice Halo is an alternative if you are afraid to get on the ice without any head protection and don’t feel comfortable wearing a helmet. The Ice Halo looks like a headband, but bulkier. It has light-weight foam on the interior and comes in 30 different kinds of fabrics and colors, so you’re able to choose the one that fits your style the best.

Throughout March and beyond, spread the word about Brain Injury Awareness. And remember to take all the necessary safety precautions when you skate.