Window 4: IM – TBI, Concussion Management, Sports PerformanceWritten By: David Burns
Historically, the Interactive Metronome has been used to help those with ADHD, dyslexia, learning disabilities, sensory integration issues, dyspraxia, balance disorders, concussions and other traumatic brain injury or brain disorder rehabilitation. However, it is now also being used to optimize sports performance.
This blog and the other blog “windows” into brain function are not intended for anybody to make any diagnosis or determine treatment for anybody. It is simply intended to help patients understand what a functional approach to neurology, brain function, concussion management, sports performance evaluation may entail. But most importantly, to help the patient or client communicate with the provider so that they or their children can achieve the best brain health possible. Achieving optimal brain health is an interdependent process, an active process that starts with communication.
The patient or athlete is put through a series of 14 tests to determine their capacity to focus and stay in time with a reference sound. While it seems simple enough, many people find that they have significant difficulty performing the tasks; or discover specific areas of the body that are for one reason or another, not functioning properly.
Parents are often surprised how challenging some of these tasks can be for their child; especially if their child does well in sports or school.This is particularly true with the exercises that challenge the upper limb with the opposite side lower limb. This test can be performed on its own or as part of the comprehensive baseline exam.
It is becoming more common for athletes to not only use this technology for rehabilitation but also as a tool to improve their attention, thought processing, focus and motor coordination above what would be considered “normal” function.
The standard exercises can be adapted to make them progressively more challenging and the motor patterns can be developed to be specific to their sport.
Sports performance is enhanced by improving their timing, rhythm, coordination and focus. Athletes will report that they are better able to tune out distractions; that things seem to slow down; that they have better “anticipation”.
Injury prevention would also be an expected benefit. Faster thought processing, increased focus, quicker reaction time along with better motor coordination should lead to injury prevention, not only for the brain but knees, shoulders, neck or back etc.
This therapy or training tool is ideally used everyday for a period of time. In the past you had to do this training in a provider’s office. For most people this is a large time commitment and has a higher cost. Now Interactive Metronome has come up with a home unit. The results can be monitored online by a provider. The home unit requires significantly less one on one office visits, saving you time and money.
Technology, like the Interactive Metronome (IM), improves thought processing, focus and motor coordination and is beneficial not only for enhancing sports performance, rehabilitating traumatic brain injury (e.g. concussion) but also should help prevent brain and other injuries. Awareness, reaction time, and stability of joints (as noted above) are key elements to injury prevention.