The Concussion in Amateur Sport

Concussion is a big thing in todays society; with more interest in professional sport day by day, is the grassroots game being left behind? Are we risking the safety of children, young adults and everyone else that plays the sport they love. I can recall several incidents from games I have played in where if it was the elite level the player would be pulled from the action.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. This doesn’t need a massive impact to the head to occur. In its simplest form it is where your brain rattles around in your head hitting the inside of your skull. Not all symptoms are present straight away; you should air on the side of caution if you ever suspect a concussion. Some symptoms can include; nausea, headache, double vision and episodes of anger.


What happens when you are diagnosed with a concussion?

Dependent on your sport, the protocol for return to play will differ. In the elite setting the standard of protocol is far higher than what you will find elsewhere. In amateur sport, there are no medical professionals at clubs who will clear your player to return. You will have to have the player talk to their GP before doing anything.

You need to be cleared at every stage of the return to play protocol. Many people are aware of the RFU or FA concussion protocols; but, if they are not, why are they not? This shows a clear lack of care about safety of athletes.

For the first period of time you need complete rest. This means no phone, laptop or TV. From there you gradually return back to exercise in a controlled manner to reduce the risk of secondary impact syndrome.

Are we failing young athletes who get concussed?

Personally, I think we are. You will have seen that they have limited the amount of heading in football at the younger ages; but what is the point in protecting them in the early formative years to let them down when into their teens?

I can recall several events where a player has taken a blow to the head and they are told to continue. Are we promoting the correct response for head injuries, definitely not. However, this is a difficult thing to change; it takes a lot of education of parents, players, coaches and governing bodies.

Is the treatment of concussion at the grassroots level appropriate?

I appreciate that there are no medical staff at the grassroots game, with all first aid lumped onto the coaches. They are there to coach not to treat injuries. If their best player takes a bang to the head they are going to want them to continue no matter what the cost.

So the treatment of concussion at the grassroots level is absolutely rubbish. No player wants to have to sit on the sideline, they are always going to say they are fine no matter what. Did you know that if they had another bang to the head they are at risk of death? Secondary impact syndrome is a fatal problem. Yet we still risk the safety of our players for a win…

I feel that each club should have a concussion first aider. Every time there is a bang to the head the player has to report to them immediately to be cleared for a return to action. If this isn’t possible then the player should take no further action in the game.


Life and Exercise with Shin Splints

What is shin splints?

When you are running, do you suffer from pain and/or throbbing in your shins? You could be suffering with shin splints or professionally known as medial tibial stress syndrome. If you are suffering from this you are likely to suffer from pain at the start of your exercise that then eases. This pain then re-appears during your cool down. There are a variety of different causes for shin splints; but often when you suffer with this pain you don’t successfully manage your symptoms or eradicate the problem.

Shin splints caused by poor footwear

What causes shin splints?

There are many things that can lead to shin splints; think about the list below and try to see how they fit in with your shin pain.

  • Flat feet – this will cause an over-pronation of your feet, leading to a change in running biomechanics. This can also change the amount of stress going through the tibia.
  • Poor footwear – changing your footwear to help with stability can reduce the pain you suffer with.
  • Lack of strength in the posterior chain – weakness in the glutes and calf muscles and lead to a reduced stability. In turn, increasing stress.
  • Sudden increase in load

How can I manage my symptoms?

The best thing that you can do is to rest. Allow your symptoms to settle down, to help with pain you will want to ice the area. From here you will want to address the root cause of the problem. Start by addressing how far you are running per week, then see if you had a sudden increase in your distances. Then you will want to see how your footwear is. Is it suitable for what you require? If you are unsure you should go to a running shop as these will be best suited to give advice!

Shin splints caused by the surface you are running on?

Your next step in recovery would be to work on your strength and bio-mechanical control. Get yourself booked in to, firstly, find out if you are indeed suffering with shin splints. Secondly, put together a detailed exercise plan that will help to rehabilitate you back to full fitness.

Feel free to drop us an email or fill in the contact form and we will be more than happy to answer any questions.

Is it possible to prevent it?

There are strategies that you can put into place that will help to prevent the onset of shin splints. This revolves around strengthening specific muscles in the body. To get the best outcome, you will want to contact a professional to make sure what you are doing is suited for you.

Prevention will stick to the idea of increasing calf and soleus strength, and increasing core stability. From there the glutes will need to be assessed for their strength and activation levels, whilst your balance will need to be worked on too.

Shin splints is very common, don’t suffer in silence, treatment is easy and you will be running pain free again in no time!


Can CBD help with my pain and injury?

Many people have negative connotations when it comes to CBD. In actual fact regular consumption of CBD can provide real benefits towards your mental and physical health along with recovery.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in hemp and cannabis. It is a naturally occurring, safe, non-toxic and non-psychoactive compound. Alongside THC and CBG, this the most commonly researched compounds in cannabis. However, unlike cannabis, when CBD is taken by itself it does not produce a ‘high’. The World Health Organisation reported that “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

CBD from a hemp plant
Hemp Plant

Is it legal to be bought and sold?

In the UK, CBD is completely legal to be bought and sold. However, what you should look for is the product is regulated by the Cannabis Trade Association.

CBD is a legal supplement if the value for THC is less than 0.2%. There will be no psychoactive effects from CBD. With this product being safe for the consumption for humans and animals.

What impact can it play on pain and recovery?

There are many areas that CBD can affect. Our bodies contain a system called the endocannabinoid system. This system controls our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system. When you regular consume CBD you can see a huge change in your mental and physical health. With the pain aspect the CBD reduces the interactions the endocannabinoid receptors have with the neurotransmitters. This in-turn leads to a reduction in pain and inflammation. A huge area of recovery is sleep, if you are an insomniac you are missing out on free recovery, let CBD help.

CBD to relieve muscle pain
Relieve Muscle Pain
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Manages pain
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Increases appetite
  • Helps with insomnia

Where can I buy my CBD from?

We have taken the leg work out of finding a great product for you. The people over at Your Health Calculator take health and fitness seriously. They only look to supply the best products and great value to get you achieving sooner. They offer a variety of different CBD products, so no matter what you choice of consumption they have you sorted. Check out their great CBD products here.

CBD Menthol Muscle Rub
CBD Water Soluble Drops

Why do I get pain in my knee when I run?

Knee pain is a very common problem in the general population whilst runners are very often affected with knee pain, with this being called runners knee. Pain can be caused through injury to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and to other joint structures. The onset of pain isn’t the same for everyone, however, the pain is either acute or chronic in nature.

What is runners knee?

Runners knee is often associated with a dull pain at the front of the knee. More often than not, this leads to the knee being painful to touch. Whilst, there is often the sensation of rubbing, grinding or clicking linked to this problem. After a prolonged period of sitting there can be pain felt in the front of the knee, with a feeling of knee instability noticed during runners knee.

Why do I suffer from runners knee?

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tight hamstrings
  • Tight Achilles tendons
  • Poor foot support
  • Poor running biomechanics
  • Excessive training or overuse
  • Tight quadriceps

Muscle tightness can lead to this problem due to the alteration of where the knee-cap sits within the joint. To reduce the risk of developing runners knee you should aim to perform stretches and strengthening exercises, an example for this is further down the page.

I get my pain on the inside of the knee, why?

Medial knee pain can be caused by many things. This could be caused through a medial collateral ligament injury (the main ligament on the inside of the knee). This is usually injured through a traumatic episode by which a large force is applied to the outside of the knee of the standing leg. Other than this, medial knee pain can be caused through an inflammation of a bursa, bruise from a traumatic impact or muscle weakness. The best thing to do is to seek professional advice. Ideally, you should book an appointment with a physiotherapist or a graduate sports therapist, to get to terms with what is causing your pain.

What are the main causes of knee pain?

The main causes will vary person to person. Different activities and personal movement biomechanics will predispose people to different injuries more so than other people.

  • Age – as you get older you are more at risk of arthritis related knee pain
  • Gender – Women can be more at risk of knee pain due to the angle at which their femur is, this is due to the difference in angle of the femur between males and females
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle tightness
  • Overuse
  • Poor biomechanics
  • Alteration in postural alignment

Why do I have hip pain now I have started running?

There are many reasons as to why you may be suffering with hip pain. Whether an acute or chronic injury this can often be severely painful. Lying on the side may illicit symptoms or a long period of inactivity can lead to pain. The many different causes of hip pain can be accurately diagnosed by a professional, and whilst you can try to help to yourself; best practice would be to get a professional to accurately diagnose your problem. Then a treatment action plan will truly benefit you in the long run.

What causes general hip pain?

General hip pain can come in all sizes and shapes. The type of hip problem that you are suffering with is dependent on a variety of factors. Your age is a key factor in the development of hip pain. The older you get the more at risk of arthritis you are, whilst, other structures become less able to react to potential forces placed on them. Tendon injuries and joint capsule injuries become more common and frequent with poor management following the initial injury.

  • Tendinopathies
  • Bursitis – Inflamed bursa
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle Strain

What can cause hip pain during a run?

Ultimately, you should seek professional assessment and advice to fully determine the root cause of your pain. This can then bring about the best corrective exercises to get you back running pain free again.

Hip pain from running can present in many ways but two of the most common injuries that affect runners are muscle strains through a sharp increase in the acute workload/overuse of a muscle or hip impingement. Hip impingement is commonly referred to as femeroacetabular impingement (FAI), and is caused through the interaction of the femoral head on the acetabulum.

What are the most common hip injuries in a sports person?

  • Acute adductor strains
  • Adductor tendinopathy
  • Osteitis pubis
  • Sportsman hernia
  • FAI

These are the 5 most common pathologies that can illicit hip pain. Some of these will cause groin pain too, but the professional will be able to determine the root cause through accurate assessment. Hip injuries are most common in sports that involve high speed change of direction movements and kicking, such as; football and hockey. The best thing to do when you suspect and injury is to rest it, elevate and ice it. Check out a previous post of the immediate management following an acute injury here.

Exercises to prevent hip pain

My hip pain also gives me knee pain; what can I do to help this?

The muscle that sits on the mid-portion of your quadriceps is called the rectus femoris muscle. This sits across two joints, so if and when it gets tight it is going to affect the hip and also the knee. In several cases the pain sits at the front of the knee or just below the patella. This is simple to diagnose and fix, often, a deep tissue massage will get rid of your pain quickly. The video above shows exercises that are perfect to get rid of hip pain, with these certainly able to help get rid of this type of hip pain.


All Things To Help With Your Hydration

Why do I become dehydrated? Is this dangerous?

Through your daily activities, fluid is lost through sweating but also through the water vapour that is lost through your breathe. This will all lead to an increased state of dehydration which can then cause a general loss of performance and you will find that you fatigue far quicker.

Being dehydrated will lead to a reduction in blood volume, placing a greater strain on the heart, lungs and circulatory system. It has been reported that a 2% loss of body weight, through fluid loss, leads to a reduction in aerobic capacity by 10-20% during exercise lasting 90 minutes or more.

The more dehydrated you become the less able you are to sweat, this is due to the body prioritising blood flow to the muscles rather than the skin, therefore, the body is unable to manage body temperature as effectively.

How much fluid should I consume before exercise?

The main priority before exercise should be your hydration. As previously mentioned, if you are dehydrated and are looking to perform at the highest level that you possibly can, then you are physically unable to do this. A study involving long distance runners reported a 2% drop in body weight through fluid loss, caused a substantial drop (6-7%) in the speeds they were capable of reaching.

In an ideal world prevention of dehydration is better than curing it. This should be thought about more so when exercising in hot and humid conditions, as you will dehydrate quicker. To monitor your hydration status you should observe the volume and colour of your urine. There are many charts available to compare the fluid colour with, whilst your urine should ideally be pale yellow in colour and not completely clear.

It is recommended that an athlete should consume 5-7ml of fluid per kg of body weight slowly over a 4-hour period. Therefore if the athlete weighs 70kg they should consume 350-490ml of fluid pre-exercise. Always carry a water bottle with you, this allows you to manage your own hydration rather than depending on a coach.

What should I be consuming during exercise?

Fluid consumption throughout the period of exercise will vary from athlete to athlete. The American College of Sports Medicine reports that there are no specific recommendations on fluid intake during exercise due to the differing sweat rates and composition of the sweat. The aim of maintaining hydration throughout exercise is to limit the total loss of performance.

Exercise will vary in difficulty, this depend on the environment or intensity of a session. Therefore, the best strategy is to observe the fluid loss that takes place through sweating before and after a standard session. This is done by taking the weight of the athlete before and after exercise; with the aim to limit the dehydration in future sessions to less than 2% of body weight. Alterations then can be made on how much should be consumed dependent on the environment.

How will fluid help my recovery?

Following exercise the body needs to have the fluid balance returned to normal; this involves the restoration of water and electrolytes that were lost through sweating. Researchers have recommended that you should look to consume 1.2-1.5 times the weight lost following exercise. Working on the assumption that 1kg of body weight is the equivalent to 1L of sweat, you should look to replace the fluid loss with 1.2-1.5L of fluid. This should not be drunk in one go, however, drunk steadily over a longer period of time.

A key reason to maintain good hydration following exercise is for the recovery of the athletes muscles. This is a process known as protein synthesis; it plays a role in the rebuilding of muscle, and requires the muscles to be hydrated to work. Therefore, poor hydration will lengthen the time at which the muscle recovers following exercise.

Water versus Sports Drinks?

When performing moderate-high intensity exercise you may feel nauseous when consuming water, this can be due to dehydration or the intensity which you work at. A sports drink will aid you during exercise at the high intensity when it is performed for longer than an hour. A sports drink containing 40-80g of carbohydrate per litre can promote hydration and normalise blood sugar level. If the exercise is longer than 2 hours in length or you are sweating heavily you should opt for a sports drink that contains sodium.

There are three main types of drinks available to us in daily life; hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic.

  • Hypotonic drink – This drink contains less than 4g of carbohydrate per 100ml. This has a low osmolality (concentration of particles in comparison to that of the body); due to it being more dilute than the body this is absorbed faster than plain water.
  • Isotonic drink – This is the typical sports drink and has a similar osmolality to the body. This drink offers the ideal compromise between rehydrating and refuelling. This is absorbed as fast or faster than water.
  • Hypertonic drink – This can be categorised as a ready to drink soft drink, this has a higher osmolality than the body with a higher concentration of electrolytes, this is absorbed more slowly than water.

How to make your own Sports Drink from home?

What are the sports drinks available to me?

There are two designated types of sports drinks that are available to us. You have the choice of either a fluid replacement drink or a carbohydrate drink.

  • Fluid replacement drink – This has dilute concentrations of electrolytes and sugars (carbohydrates). Sugars that you will often see in these drinks are glucose, fructose and sucrose. The aim of this type of drink is to replace fluid faster than plain water, whilst the added sugar in the drink will maintain blood sugar level.
  • Carbohydrate drink – These will provide a greater amount of carbohydrate per 100ml than fluid replacement drinks. This is typically made up of maltodextrins. You would typically use this drink following exercise by way of recovery rather than rehydration.

Both of these types of drinks can be either hypotonic or isotonic.