In February of 2016, WWE star Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from wrestling at the age of 34. When interviewed about why he was choosing to retire at a relatively young age, Bryan revealed that he had been suffering seizures from multiple concussions, which he had kept secret in order to continue competing. Within the first 3 months of professional wrestling, he suffered 3 concussions, and suffered many more throughout his 16-year career.
After his wife witnessed one of his seizures, Bryan knew it was time to quit while he had the chance. As neurosurgeons who have seen dozens of athletes suffer from multiple traumatic brain injuries, we understand and support Mr. Bryan’s decision to withdraw from the sport. Concussions, while traditionally considered part of any contact sport, are beginning to be seen for the dangerous injuries they are.
“A concussion is an impact to the head that interrupts normal function of the brain,” said Dr. Matthew Antonucci, our Director of Neurological Performance and Rehabilitation at Plasticity Brain Centers. “Concussions can affect functions that patients are unaware of, such as balance, physical coordination, eye tracking, cognitive function, memory, and even emotional state. While 90 percent of concussions resolve on their own, 10 percent do not.”
TREATING A CONCUSSION INJURY FOR WHAT IT IS
When an injury has a 1 in 10 chance that it will cause a patient long-term cognitive impairment, that’s an injury worth taking seriously—usually with preventative measures or effective treatment. Our program at PBC includes five intensive neurological therapy sessions, sometimes lasting up to six hours each. The “boot camp for the brain,” as we call it, helps patients who have been unresponsive to traditional concussion treatments.
Our therapies target specific lobes of the brain where the patient has lost function. Our precise diagnostic tests pinpoint where the brain is struggling to process effectively, and we use stimuli responses in order to rebuild neural pathways or create new ones entirely. Our therapies include heat, pressure, electricity, motor movement, eye tracking, and other exercises or treatments that strengthen the integrity of the brain and the speed and efficiency of its responses.
We did an analysis of 100 of our patients, and we found that 93 percent of our patients improved by 48 percent or more. Nearly all of our patients improved by a significant amount after only five days of persistent, targeted treatment, with potential further improvement possible with at-home exercises. We believe our approach works because it applies scientific principles to a clinical setting, creating a wholly effective and non-invasive method of treating brain injury and neurological disease.
Obviously, these treatments can help more than concussion patients—at Plasticity Brain Centers, this treatment has helped hundreds of people with developmental issues, degenerative diseases, and all other kinds of brain disorders affecting function. As the public becomes more aware of the stories surrounding concussions, from the WWE to the NFL, we expect that more and more people will be looking to clinical neuroscience for solutions. Plasticity Brain Centers is proud to be some of the few neurological specialists prepared to address concussions in an effective, quantifiable manner.