Full Interview With Dr. Clark
You can watch my full interview with Dr. Clark here or you can scroll down to watch/read the highlighted segments and see the supplemental videos I’ve added.
Dr. Clark prevents 80% of concussions in collegiate athletes
Dr. Joseph Clark has a PhD in Neurophysiology and is a professor at University of Cincinnati. He helps take care of collegiate athletes patients with concussions and chronic post concussion syndrome. Since 2009, he’s decreased the rate of concussions for University of Cincinnati athletes by 80% by running his concussion prevention program.
For instance, in football, the average concussion rate was about 10 concussions per year for the whole team before implementing his protocol. After implementation, concussion went down to 2.1 per year. Women’s soccer averaged about four concussions each year. Now they’re averaging about one every other year.
If a concussion does occur, their average athlete takes about 6.5 days to get better. The national average, according to Dr. Clark is between 14 and 21 days. Their faster recovery time is because, 1) their athletes are better prepared to recover due to the concussion prevention program, and 2) they are treated correctly almost immediately after sustaining a brain injury.
These prevention and recovery results have been sustained for 11 years by Dr. Clark. After the first three years, they conducted a study to discover what the programs had accomplished. The results were so incredible that they didn’t believe their own data. They started another two-year study to verify their results and were surprised to see that their stats held.
Dr. Clark believes that aggressive early intervention can prevent chronic post-concussion symptoms. Just as impressive as their decrease in concussions, in the 11 years that they’ve implemented his concussion prevention program, they’ve only had one athlete that was suffering from PCS for more than three weeks.
How to prevent concussions – dynamic neck strength
Neck strengthening doesn’t mean you need a big, huge neck – that type of strength isn’t what we need. In the concussion prevention world, we need dynamic neck strengthening and neck control. We learned this from boxers – they’re taught how to ride a punch (or to go with a hit, recoil, and come back). Boxers are trained to minimize the blow, not “take a hit.” In order to prevent concussions you need to increase dynamic neck strength.
To build dynamic neck strength, you need to start with flexibility and range of motion. Range of motion is important because if you don’t have range of motion, then you can’t automatically decelerate from a blow and recover. The Neck Flex and the Iron Neck are the two most popular dynamic neck strengthening devices on the market right now.
I sifted through four pages on youtube to find the best “how to” videos on dynamic neck strengthening and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. Here you go:
Here’s another reason for prevention training: If you engage in training to prevent concussions and then you get injured, now your brain can heal better and faster than if you hadn’t prepared.
How to prevent concussions – brain, reaction, & visual training
The second phase in the prevention of brain injuries is the brain oriented phase which includes brain training, reaction training, and peripheral vision training.
How to treat a concussion in the first three weeks
If you were injured and experience symptoms for two weeks or more, your brain can change in fundamental ways. After two weeks of post-concussion symptoms, it can rewire in dysfunctional ways. Which is why Dr. Clark works so hard to prevent that “wiring” change in the first few weeks. If not treated quickly, concussions seem to take a lot more time, effort, and suffering in order to heal.
After sustaining a concussion, you should find a neurologically trained acute trauma physician and start treatment with them in order to decrease the likelihood of developing learned dysfunction within your brain. In other words, you could find a nurse practitioner that has acute neuro trauma training to help you get started with recovery. The easiest place to find physicians like this is often around sports. Neuro trained chiropractors, physical therapists, nurses, etc. are often employed by athletic teams because their athletes need to get better pretty quickly.
For patients who’ve sustained a concussion, Dr. Clark does a full neurological “scouting” exam to try and figure out what regions of the brain were impacted. He’ll test vision and balance, speech and memory and multiple other areas. By the end of the extensive exam, he’ll generally have “a menu of things that are either deficient or have room for improvement.” From there, he’ll connect the patient with specialists who can help with the injured areas of the brain.
How to treat Chronic PCS (Post Concussion Syndrome)
How Dynavision Boards are used to treat PCS
The Dynavision is an FDA cleared medical device that’s been used since the 1980s for concussion rehabilitation. Many neuro rehabilitation centers (including Dr. Clarks facility, Cognitive FX, and Plasticity Brain Centers) around the country use Dynavision or one of its knock-offs. Brittny and I bought a Dynavision board to use in our home gym because it was among the most effective recovery tools that she used at treatment centers. In order to use it effectively for concussion rehab (strengthening reaction time, visual processing, and peripheral vision), you need to have programs setup correctly. You can purchase software and programs from Dynavision International or you can try to program them yourself.
Check out my review to learn more about the Dynavision and how Dr. Clark uses it to prevent concussions and for brain injury rehab.
What to expect when recovering from a brain injury
“Unfortunately, we are in a sort of instant gratification society where people want a quick fix. They want to just take a pill to make everything better. And that’s just not feasible with post-concussion syndrome.” But that doesn’t mean there’s not hope in your recovery.
Because the brain can “de-wire” and “re-wire,” you can have hope in recovery from a concussion or brain injury. It’s just a matter of finding the right team of physicians because not all doctors actually believe that you can heal.
This is why I recommend that people suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome connect with Cognitive FX and Plasticity Brain Centers to work with a team of doctors who can help them recover.