Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a progressive brain condition that's thought to be caused by repeated blows to the head and repeated episodes of concussion. It's particularly associated with contact sports, for example boxing or American football. CTE is prevalent in sport and performance can be gravely impacted by trauma to the head. However, evidence suggests that cognitive training can play an important role In post-concussion rehabilitation.
In recent years, brain training, whereby an individual is challenged to engage in a series of visual and auditory tasks, has gained popularity Within the professional sporting community. Cognitive training has been shown to improve cognitive skills such as reaction time, agility, executive function, and perception. They have incorporated cognitive-based exercises into their training.
Former Danish handball player Erik Veje Rasmussen created FITLIGHT - an interactive training tool that uses lights to challenge cognition through visual tracking, motor coordination, processing speed, and working memory. The system has been utilized for performance training and brain trauma rehabilitation (i.e., concussion).
What Happens Physiologically To The Brain During A Concussion?
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that causes a temporary disturbance in brain cells that can disrupt brain function. This injury results from acceleration and deceleration of the brain inside the skull, causing brain tissue to stretch and shear. This brain stretching leads to an ion imbalance, causing an excitatory response and, ultimately, an energy deficit in the affected cells of the brain (Pavlova, 2018).
Unfortunately, a person's physical state post-concussion says very little about the health of their brain. Individuals may feel fine physically, Thinking they are ready to return to their sport when they have decreased cognitive ability. Therefore, brain training, through FITLIGHT, for instance, should be a staple of most concussion rehabilitation programs. It can both detect cognitive impairment and improve cognitive skills that may have been lost due to the trauma. A study conducted by mercy Sports Medicine in 2017 highlights the importance of taking an athlete through a gradual return to sport progression. Brain training systems that mimic the visual cues an athlete receives in their sport allow the athlete to retrain their brain in a controlled environment (Keenan).
How Does FITLIGHT® Work?
A person is presented with several lights (usually 4-12 lights) that are tasked with deactivating when they flash. The speed at which the individual responds to the lights and deactivates them is recorded. The data is then analyzed to study various cognitive skills, such as attention and information processing. It is a highly versatile tool that helps detect impaired cognition and improves cognitive ability.
Using FITLIGHT can lead to:
Improved Reaction & Response Times
Improved Physical Speed, Agility And Coordination
Improved Visual Cognitive Processing
Other Benefits Of FITLIGHT:
Using FITLIGHT® at the beginning of a sporting season provides athletes with valuable baseline data about their cognitive abilities, which can be used for comparison post-season or even post-in-season concussion. This data can be invaluable in assessing the player's recovery time and determining a more accurate prognosis for return to play.
Developing quicker reaction times through cognitive training could even decrease the rate of concussions. A critical 2015 study suggests that when vision training is implemented, it reduces the incidence of concussion in those players compared to players who do not receive vision training (Clark, 2015). The researchers noted a slight improvement in peripheral vision and reaction times.
FITLIGHT® is not just a tool for speed and agility but can also assist in concussion rehabilitation and return-to-sport. Inquire at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.