Body Brain Boot Camp by Brain Centers NWWritten By: David Burns
Coordination and balance are key, not only for sports performance but also for the prevention of traumatic brain injuries like sports concussions. The more coordinated you are, the less compromised your body will be when impacting the ball or another player. Better coordination means that you would be better “set” for collisions. Also, as pointed out on the Balance / Posturography blog, the very stability of the spine is dependent on the areas of brain that coordinate balance and eye movements.
Rock Center’s report by Kate Snow pointed out that neck strengthening is important for concussion prevention. Guess what! Without appropriate shunt stability (i.e. the tiny muscles around your spine that stabilize it) you can’t have optimum strength of these neck muscles. Saying it differently, neck strength DEPENDS on neck stabilization. Neck stabilization DEPENDS on balance / coordination systems of brain.
We are working on various brain training exercises in our Body Brain Boot Camp. Some of these exercises relate to the conditioning of areas of brain and body that pertain to balance and coordination. The exercises that we are working on involve various regions of the balance system (i.e. vestibular system) and the component parts, that coordinate our motor functions (e.g. cerebellum, basal ganglia, motor region of cortex).
The players are slowly starting to understand why we are doing the things we are doing and are applying functional neurology concepts in a fun but challenging manner. They get that we are not trying to become experts at doing figure eights while running or other complicated movements with our hands for the sake of that given skill, but rather we are conditioning motor coordination areas of brain (e.g. cerebellum).
They realize how challenging these exercises can be but that with practice they will improve. The improvement in the tasks or exercises means that the areas of brain that perform the task are now functioning at a higher level. This higher functioning system should pay dividends to not only their sports performance on the field but also help protect them from injuries like concussion.