News & Events

One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken with Asparagus

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Recipe Adapted from: chelseaysmessyapron.com

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko or bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl.
  3. Combine panko, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, garlic powder, about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. In the final bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on lemon flavor intensity desired), minced garlic, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir.
  5. Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders (about 1 inch strips) or use chicken tenders.
  6. Coat chicken in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the Parmesan panko mixture.
  7. Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining Parmesan panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders.
  8. Place the asparagus next to the tenders and drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
  10. Optional sauce: whisk 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Add some pepper and parsley if desired.
  11. Remove pan from the oven and top with the honey lemon mixture, if desired, and enjoy immediately.

**Do not top chicken breasts with the honey lemon mixture unless eating immediately and aren’t planning on having leftovers since it will make it soggy.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Concussion Return to Work: Plan of Action

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD

Returning to work after a head injury poses unique challenges. It may seem unclear what steps to take or how far you should push yourself as you return to work. A good place to start would be discussing the situation with your employer and physician.

A sudden noise, bright lights, a computer screen, physical exertion or mental activity may not be well tolerated by the recovering brain. It is most helpful to me when patients bring a list of job expectations to their office visit so we can develop a reasonable plan for modifying their work and predict which aspects may cause problems.

Job Details: Driving expectations, screen time, noise levels, physical activity and levels of responsibility/decision making are very important to know when formulating a reasonable return to work plan.

You may need to start with a few days off from work (or longer) to start your recovery. When you are ready to start back to work, sometimes working a few hours at a time or half days are more appropriate. It is common to experience fatigue and mental exhaustion at the end of the day or the end of a week. Making adjustments such as doing more challenging work at the start of the day might help.

Even though you are able to return to work, you may find frequent breaks to be helpful, even necessary.

Back to Work Tips:

  • Changing the settings on screens to include larger text and lower brightness. 
  • Adjust lighting in the workspace.
  • Try using noise canceling earphones/earbuds. 

These changes may help provide fewer stimuli and relief to a brain while it is still recovering.

Once you are back to work, try to avoid situations where you have to learn new skills if possible. Training and testing are generally less successful while you are healing.

Use extra caution in high-risk jobs, especially those with little margin for error. Try to get a good night sleep between work shifts. Worsening concussion symptoms or fatigue might be a sign that you are doing too much too fast. If you can identify triggers that make your symptoms worse, be sure to bring these up so efforts can be made to avoid or minimize these triggers. For example, multitasking may be more difficult than working on one task at a time.

Above all patience can be your best friend. Focus on what you are able to do and take one day at a time. Pushing through does not lend itself to a faster recovery.

If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to email any one of us at the concussion focus team. 

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Debunking 7 Common Concussion Myths

Hello, my name is Josiah Parker, PT, DPT, I am a physical therapist at Athletes’ Training Center. Although I treat a wide array of patients, concussions are one of my favorite areas to treat. I’ve attended courses at the University of Pittsburg and the American Academy of Neurology for specialized training in this area. 

We have learned so much about concussions over the last 10 years but there is so much left to be learned. This influx of information has been great for the rehabilitation of patients with concussions however, there is still a ton of misinformation out in the public. My goal with today’s blog is to shed some light on some of these common concussion myths.

Myth 1. Concussions only affect athletes and only on the field

False, I see many patients who get concussions from everyday activities such as work, driving, etc.

Myth 2. Concussions always come with a loss of consciousness

False, I would say from my experience less than 20 percent of the concussions I see experience a loss of consciousness. The biggest predictor of a longer recovery after a concussion is actually feeling dizzy after sustaining a concussion.

Myth 3. The person needs to just rest until all concussion symptoms are gone

False, rest is very important after a concussion but simply cocooning yourself after a concussion is detrimental if done for longer than 48 hours. After that 48 hours sleep continues to be very important and should be prioritized but along with this, a slow progression back into activities is very important for full recovery.

Myth 4. If I wear the right type of helmet, I will not get a concussion

False, helmets are very effective at preventing injuries such as skull fractures but concussions can be caused by the brain-twisting inside the skull or hitting the front and back of the skull. Both of these mechanisms of injury are not prevented through helmet use. Don’t get me wrong helmets are a good thing to wear but they are not a foolproof way to prevent a concussion.

Myth 5. My MRI/CT scan was clear so I don’t have a concussion

False, neither one of these scans are able to detect a concussion. They are able to rule out more serious conditions such as a brain bleed but concussion damage is on a more microscopic level which is not picked up on these scans.

Myth 6. People with concussions should wake up every 2-3 hours after a concussion

False, uninterrupted sleep is very important after a concussion, especially in that initial 48-hour window. There is not any research showing interrupting sleep is helpful even on the first night after a concussion.

Myth 7. Concussions are a minor injury

False, many concussions resolve quickly with little to no long-term effects. However, the more concussions someone gets the longer symptoms last and the more intense they are. There are some people who have lasting symptoms for months or even years after a concussion. Therefore though most concussions are not life-threatening, may be life-altering.

The effects of these concussions cause interruption in daily activities, making the return to work/school challenging and can be very frustrating. This is not an all-inclusive list but as you can see there are many wrong ideas about concussions.

If you or someone you know are suffering from post-concussion symptoms, know there is help available and many times rehabilitation can help to speed up the recovery process. Use the information below to get in contact with someone who can help guide this process for you!

Call us at 402.932.7111. or visit concussionfocus.org

Written By: Josiah Parker, DPT, PT


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Sheet Pan Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Recipe Adapted from: staysnached.com
*Image source: staysnached.com 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced into circular pieces
  • 2-3 cups brussels sprouts chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsps low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp McCormick’s Grill Mates BBQ Seasoning
  • McCormick’s Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Drizzle the soy sauce over the chicken. Season the chicken with the BBQ seasoning, chicken seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  2. Add the chicken in a Ziploc bag and add to the fridge while prepping the veggies.
  3. Add the sliced sweet potatoes to a bowl. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle cinnamon throughout.
  4. Add foil to a sheet pan. Spray with cooking spray.
  5. Place Brussels sprouts on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Spread the sweet potatoes and chicken onto the sheet pan.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
  8. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the food to cool.
  9. Place the chicken on a cutting board horizontally. Slice the chicken into small pieces.
  10. Serve!

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

5 Common Pitching Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

I hate seeing young athletes hurt.  There may not be a worse feeling than telling a young, energetic, baseball loving athlete they need stop playing for a while so we can get them through an injury.  Now, I appreciate there are some injuries that are completely unavoidable and these injuries are the nature of playing sports. 

On the other hand, some of the injuries I see in the clinic have the potential to be avoided with a little extra knowledge and a keen eye.  

In this post I will cover some of the common mistakes to look for in your young throwers.  I will also share how these mistakes can lead to less than optimal performance and how they create the potential for injury.pitcher

Mistake #1 – Getting out of the glove late

 

This error is one that can have a detrimental effect on the rest of the throwing cycle because if the hand break is delayed it forces the thrower to have to catch up in the sequence of the throwing motion.  As the pitcher begins to come out of his balance position and his front knee begins to lower, his hands should begin to separate from the glove.  In doing so, he will not be rushed to get the arm into the proper position or slot when he starts delivering the ball.

 

Mistake #2 – Faulty arm path
 

Faulty Arm Path

We were all taught as kids when you bring the ball out of the glove the arm should follow a “C” path or “down, back, and up”.  The reason we were taught this was because it gets the arm in the right position for effective delivery. The common faulty arm path I see is the ball coming down and behind the pitcher after it exits the glove.  Now the pitcher has to hurry up to get his arm in the proper position for delivery.  If his timing is not just right, it leads to the next mistake.
 
Mistake #3 – Lagging coming through the slot

Pitcher dragging

Once a thrower starts turning his chest toward the target, the throwing arm should be in sync with the torso, or in other words, they should move together at the same time. Have you ever seen a young pitcher make a throw and it looked like his hand was still pointing at the short stop when his chest was facing the catcher?  That is lagging.  The arm is trailing behind the body’s movement toward the plate.  In my opinion, this mistake is the NUMBER #1 cause of shoulder and elbow injuries in young throwers.
 
Mistake #4 – Glove side arm flying open

Glove side openRight up there with “down, back, and up”, “tuck your front side elbow” was probably the next thing I remember all my coaches preaching – and rightfully so.  When a thrower is delivering the ball to the catcher, all his momentum should be driven forward toward the catcher.  If the front side arm is away from the body, it creates a spinning effect drifting the pitcher off to the side and not toward the catcher.  

This error has two consequences.  First, the pitcher has a harder time locating his pitches because it is hard to time a spinning motion.  Second, now the pitcher lands unbalanced and often is not ready to field a ball or protect himself if the ball is hit back toward him.

 

Mistake #5 – Breaking Lead Leg

Now this on2Breaking kneee sounds bad.  I do not mean the pitcher actually “breaks” his lead leg.  I mean the pitcher is applying the brakes through his lead leg.  When a pitcher is delivering a ball, his momentum shifts his weight from his back leg to his lead leg.  When this happens the lead leg’s knee is supposed to be athletically bent.  Breaking the lead leg is when the pitcher rapidly and often violently snaps his knee straight as he is shifting weight onto it.  This error stops all forward momentum and energy thus forcing the arm to make up the difference in order to attain to the desired velocity. This mistake is the NUMBER #2 cause of shoulder and elbow injuries I see.
 

Coaches have an incredibly tough job when it comes to developing young pitchers.  I have discovered in my time of working with young baseball players there are a lot of kids ‘throwing’ off the mound and very few ‘pitching’ off the mound.  Having a keen eye and keeping these mistakes in mind will help your young pitcher stay healthy and develop a great foundation for pitching!

 
Written By: Travis Manners, PT, SCS, CSCS

 

Question: How are your young thrower’s mechanics?  Have you noticed any other common mistakes? You can leave a comment below.
 

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The Best 15 Minute Workout You Are NOT Doing

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to Dan John, one of the most influential strength and conditioning coaches in history, speak at a conference. In addition to his first-class knowledge and experience, Dan is renowned for his ability to present the often complicated field of exercise science in a simple, easy to understand way.

He opened this particular presentation by posing a question to the audience. “If you could only workout for 15 minutes, what would you do?” The audience, full of experienced coaches, did not have an answer. Dan’s answer? Loaded carries (aka “Farmer Walks”).

What is a loaded carry?

A loaded carry is picking up a weight and walking with it for distance or time. The key is to maintain a neutral posture while walking, which means that the torso is vertical, shoulders are pulled back and core is braced. This simple, but effective movement simultaneously trains core stability and total body strength. Perfect for a quick workout!

Tip: To achieve a braced core position, exhale through your mouth like you are blowing up a balloon. You should feel your abdominal muscles engage. Maintain this feeling as you perform your loaded carries.

What You Need:

  • 2 Heavy Kettlebells
  • 2 Moderately Heavy Kettlebells
  • 2 Light Kettlebells
  • 2 Light Dumbbells

The Best 15 Minute Workout:
With Video & Reps

Choose kettlebells and dumbbells that will allow you to perform each movement with proper technique. Set a clock or timer for 15 minutes.

Perform in sequential order, completing one exercise every minute on the minute. For example, if it takes you 30 seconds to complete a 20-yard Farmer Carry, you have the rest of the minute (30 seconds) to recover. When the minute expires, you begin the next listed exercise. You will end up going through the circuit for three rounds. 

15-Minute EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)

1. Farmer Carry (20 yards) *Heavy Weight
2. Front Rack Carry (20 yards) *Moderate Weight
3. Overhead Carry (10 yards each arm) *Light Weight
4. Suitcase Carry (10 yards each arm) *Heavy/Moderate Weight
5. Bicep Curl Carry (20 yards) *Light Weight


FARMER CARRY (2 KETTLEBELLS)

Begin with two kettlebells at your side. Walk in a controlled manner while maintaining neutral posture.

FRONT RACK CARRY (2 KETTLEBELLS)

Begin with two kettlebells directly underneath your chin at shoulder height. Your palms should be facing each other and elbows away from your side. Focus on staying tall as you walk and don’t let the kettlebells pull you into a rounded posture.

SUITCASE CARRY (1 KETTLEBELL)

Begin with one kettlebell at your side. Resist the urge to side bend as you walk. 

OVERHEAD CARRY (1 OR 2 KETTLEBELLS)

Begin by pressing one kettlebell overhead. Continue to push up through your working arm as you walk to avoid any drifting of the kettlebell. The goal is to have a straight line from your shoulder to the kettlebell. Only perform this variation if you have the proper mobility. Complete the tests in this blog post to see if you have what it takes! “Lifting Weights Overhead is a Privilege not a Right.”


BICEP CURL CARRY (2 DUMBBELLS)

Begin by curling two dumbbells so you have a 90 degree bend at the elbow. This should resemble the half-way point of a traditional dumbbell curl. Maintain this position as you walk.

Written By: Mike Servais, CSCS, USAW – L1SP


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Tips for Managing Sleeping After A Concussion

Guest Blogger Introduction: Rebecca Lancaster, MD – Methodist Physicians Clinic

Rebecca is a graduate of Creighton University Medical School and Clarkson Family Medicine Residency.  She is a board certified Family Medicine Physician.  Rebecca began managing athlete concussions in 2010 when she became one of the first ImPACT certified physicians in Nebraska. 

She has continued to assist concussion patients in private practice and more recently at Methodist Physicians Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska. 

Her concussion patients now extend beyond athletes to include all age groups, as is consistent with family medicine, and varying degrees of head injury from acute concussions to post-concussion syndrome. Rebecca continues to be active in Concussion Focus and concussion education in the Omaha community.  Her goal in treating concussion patients is to understand where they are in their recovery,  help them through with the resources we have available and return them to their fullest quality of life after these most unfortunate head bumps.

Ah, sleep!  It is oh so important when you are recovering from a concussion, but what do you do when the injured brain does not want to sleep? 

Sleep habits become more essential post-concussion.  Scheduling regular sleep, wake times, and sticking to them helps. Here are a few tips you can implement to help manage sleep after a concussion. 

Managing a Concussion: Sleeping Tips

Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Minimize screen usage such as phones, computers, TVs, and reducing exposure to brighter lights before bed will help.

Try relaxing activities, meditation, stretching or reading if tolerated can be helpful before bed.  A short nap can be okay during the day, but if it starts to impair your ability to fall asleep, you may want to limit the duration of the daytime resting or eliminate it all together.  Physical activity is helpful during the day if you can tolerate some, but physical activity just before bedtime can make you more alert.  Decreasing or eliminating caffeine helps as well. 

And what if these tactics still do not work?

Sometimes an over the counter sleep aid like melatonin starting at a dose of 1 mg – 3 mg can be helpful to drift off to sleep easier. If headaches are a bother as well, Tylenol or Ibuprofen, at an appropriate dose for your age, prior to sleep may help.  You may also want to talk with your physician about medications that can diminish headaches as well as assist in sleep. 

Overall it is perfectly reasonable to start examining and modifying sleep habits. It may take some discipline and patience as you try a few nights with your new sleep routine. This course has no side effects and could lead to fewer concussion symptoms. If the concussion, however, has caused more difficult to manage sleep cycles, do not hesitate to seek help.

Sweet dreams!

Guest Blog Author: Rebecca Lancaster, MD


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefit 1

We can all probably imagine what an off season training program looks and sounds like. It is probably something like this scenario:

You walk into your training facility and you are greeted with the familiar sound of weights clanging off of platforms and the ‘sweet’ smell of sweat in the air. You see someone in the corner desperately trying to catch their breath after setting a new personal best. All the while you can barely hear your own thoughts and the conversations of people talking around you because someone is blasting their favorite “pumped-up” Pandora station.

This scenario just comes with the territory of many off season training programs. Off season training programs are no secret to athletes and to sport coaches, but what about the benefits of in season training programs?

Today, we will reveal the 1st of 3 benefits of training while in season and why it is important to continue to train during this time.  

A well-disciplined, dedicated athlete has already conditioned their body to be ready for the season. But it never ceases to amaze us coaches that once their season starts the athletes suddenly stop their training programs all-together. It is understandable as their schedules fill-up with games and practices.

But as their season progresses, they start to notice that their muscles become sorer with each game and they begin to lose the advances they made during the off-season. Why is it that?

With all the work that athletes’ put in during the off season, it is assumed that everything that they worked on should carry them through their season, right? Unfortunately, it does not work that way.

Why In Season Training? 

During our in season programs we turn the intensity level down. An athlete should be able to devote at least two hours a week for in season training outside of their sport practices, just ask any Division 1 or professional athlete or coach. The answer to feeling and playing your best all season long, is to incorporate a strength and conditioning program!

With that in mind, let’s look at the first benefit of training while in- season. 

Benefit 1)

Maintain off season gains

During the off season, athletes are building valuable strength and power to improve their performance. It wouldn’t make sense to work so hard on your speed, power, and strength development during the months leading up to your season and then completely stop doing those exercises that gave you the advances you needed. 

That is why the goal of in season training is not to improve upon those adaptations, but rather to maintain them.

“Some strength, speed, and power abilities can decrease in as little as two to three weeks, so if you refrained from in-season training for months you will for sure fall behind your opponent later in the season.” – Trenton Clausen

Because of this, the length of sessions and exercise volume (number of repetitions performed) can be reduced. Perfect for the busy in-season athlete! 

As athletes and as performance coaches, we understand that it is difficult to know the right training program, frequency, and duration to continue performing at your best with training in-season. I would recommend that you find a strength and conditioning professional that knows exactly what to do and has experience training high level athletes during the in-season.

Stay tuned in the next few weeks as we reveal the 2nd and 3rd benefit for training in season. 

How To: Perform Your Best All Season Long – Benefits 2 & 3

Written By, Performance Coaches:

Trenton Clausen – MA, CSCS, USAW-L2SP, Director of Sports Performance
Mike Servais – CSCS, USAW-L1, Performance Coach
Gus Thiel BS, NASM-CPT, FMS-L1, Performance Coach 


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Easy Pad Thai

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

*Recipe adapted from leangreenbean.com

Serves 4-6    

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound raw shrimp OR boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • Juice from one lime
  • ⅔ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sweet thai chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup red pepper, diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (4 oz) package pad thai rice noodles
  • optional garnishes: cilantro, peanuts, green onion *not provided

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl combine lime juice, soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, ginger, garlic, brown sugar and sriracha. Stir until combined.
  2. Cook noodles according to package instructions (or save time and buy precooked noodles!)
  3. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add ½ tbsp of oil. After oil has warmed add chicken or shrimp to pan, season with salt and pepper and cook through. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Add remaining ½ tbsp oil, carrots and red pepper. Cook vegetables until slightly tender and add noodles and sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Return shrimp or chicken to pan and add sauce. Cook 5-8 minutes.
  6. Move ingredients to one side of pan and crack and scramble eggs on open side of pan. Once scrambled, stir eggs into other ingredients until everything is well combined.
  7. Top with sliced green onions, minced cilantro and chopped peanuts, if desired.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Time to Start the Discussion: Concussion Management 

Guest Blog Author: Tom Buehler, ATC

Concussion. There it is. That word that everyone knows about but no one wants to talk about. The second I say the word “Concussion” I see the reaction on the face of the athlete, the parent and the coach: Fear, anger, confusion, disbelief, skepticism, disapproval, disappointment, concern, and even sometimes acceptance. Over the last several decades the way we understand and manage concussions has evolved immensely and if you ask any person trained in concussion management they will tell you we have just begun to scratch the surface.

As an athletic trainer, I have training and several years of experience in the acute management of sport-related concussions (SRC). Recognizing the signs and symptoms while on the sidelines is the first step in the proper management of an athlete who has suffered a concussion. 

Below is a list of common symptoms a concussed athlete can display:

• Headache
• Foggy Feeling
• Emotion
• Loss of Consciousness
• Amnesia
• Balance Impairment
• Irritability
• Slowed Reaction Time
• Lethargy
• Drowsiness
• Anger

If you or your child have been a part of athletics, then you undoubtedly have seen this list before or one like it. Concussion symptoms can be acute or have a delayed onset. It is imperative to take all symptom reporting seriously and not diminish the significance of a symptom that has been reported to you.

Now that you have recognized you or your athlete is displaying one or more of the signs and symptoms of a concussion, what do you do now?

Removal of any player who is suspected of having a concussion is critical and is the state law in Nebraska. Before returning to activity after a suspected concussion, the athlete must be evaluated by a licensed health care professional who has training and experience in concussion management. If no health care provider is available, a coach or parent needs to arrange for urgent referral to a physician even if this means a trip to the emergency room.

There are several important variables in the acute management of a concussion. Number one, two and three are communication. Communication of information between coaches, players, parents, teammates and health care professionals is essential for player safety. In addition to communication, we need to start to understand how concussions present. It’s not always going to be black and white. Concussions live in the gray.

The biggest roadblock I encounter is the parent who “knows better.” Note to parents and coaches: Don’t mitigate concussion symptoms based on your own agenda, don’t overlook symptoms that don’t fit your understanding of concussions and don’t try to convince yourself that it’s no big deal. LOOK and LISTEN to what your athlete is telling you and “when in doubt sit ‘em out.”

It’s time to start the discussion. Concussion doesn’t have to be this ugly buzzword that no one talks about. The potential for permanent injury or death as it is related to concussions has been well established. A 15-year-old athlete only sees one step ahead. It’s our responsibility as the adults in his/her life to see past the next play, next series, or next possession and understand what is really at stake.

Guest Blog Author: Tom Buehler, ATC, Athletic Trainer CHI Health Millard West High School

 


The care and treatment of concussions have become one of the fastest growing priorities in the medical community in the last several years and rightfully so.

An estimated 300,000 sport-related traumatic brain injuries, predominantly concussions, occur annually in the United States. In fact, for young people ages 15-24 years, sports are second only to motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of this form of a traumatic brain injury. (Journal of Athletic Training)


Our Collaboration with Concussion Focus

What is ConcussionFocus? Concussion Focus is a collaborative group of healthcare professionals in the Omaha and surrounding area that decided to come together to provide a team approach to concussion management. 

Representing the areas of family medicine, pediatrics, neurology, athletic training, physical therapy, and other disciplines allow each professional to offer expertise in their field while communications with each other to best serve the patient’s needs.

Continue reading


Chocolate Covered Cherry Energy Bites

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1 cup milled flaxseed (can replace ½ flax with protein powder)

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

½ cup dried cherries

1 tsp vanilla

⅔ cup honey

1 cup peanut butter

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl.  
  2. Use a cookie scoop to portion and drop onto parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  3. Refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.  Store in an air-tight container.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Zoodles with Vegetable Sauté

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (14.5oz) can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional: White wine, red pepper flakes, or spinach
  • Toppings: fresh chopped basil, fresh grated parmesan cheese

Directions

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauce pan over low to medium heat, add garlic and onions. Sauté until slightly browned and fragrant.

Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. *Could also add a splash of white wine for flavor!

Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly.

Put zucchini “noodles” in serving bowls and top with sauce, fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

The Proper use of Ladders During a Workout

We are probably all way too familiar with ladder drills. Most of us may recall doing countless rounds of them during high school or college practices back in the day. In the modern world of workouts are these drills still relevant?

I have many coaches ask me how they can properly incorporate ladders into their workouts and question what benefits they have for their athletes. 

The first thought that comes to many people’s minds with ladder drills is the fact they develop speed. Is it true that ladders develop speed? Let’s dive into the proper use of ladders during a workout session. 

Ladder drills can be broken down into a few simple categories.

  • Is the movement linear or lateral?
  • Does the movement involve hops (jumps) or taps (one foot touching at a time).

Other drills can certainly become more complex, especially if a stimulus is added, but the basic drills will mostly all fall into these categories.

Do ladder drills develop speed?

The answer is no. Speed is defined as ‘distance traveled per unit of time’, so when talking in sports performance terms about increasing one’s speed a person must increase the force produced with the ground that propels the body forward.

To develop force production, it will be wise to look into explosive exercises such as deadlifts, hang cleans, snatches, or broad jumps. All of these exercise will help develop a person into a more explosive athlete.

With the ladder a person’s feet are certainly moving quickly, but power isn’t necessarily being developed. Without a stimulus, it can be fairly easy for an experienced athlete to memorize the patterns of ladder drills.

This does not mean we should all throw our ladders away and let them become a thing of the past. Ladders can serve an important purpose for a great workout.

When to use a ladder drill

They are great tools to use during a warm-up. They can be used to elevate a person’s heart rate and activate the central nervous system. They can also be good tools for cardio. If a person is able to move quickly enough through the ropes there is no doubt the person’s heart-rate will increase, thus improving his or her cardiovascular endurance.

In closing, be careful when using the ladder. Use it the correct way during a workout, such as in the warmups or post-session cardio burns. Avoid teaching ladder drills as a method of developing speed because more explosive lower body exercises will prove to be much more efficient.

Written By: Gus Thiel, BS, FMS-L1SP Performance Coach

Raspberry – Dark Chocolate Delights

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Recipe adapted from hyvee.com

Serves 15

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 (1.90 ounce) package pre-baked mini fillo shells
  • 1 (5.3oz) carton raspberry Greek yogurt
  • 15 fresh raspberries

 

Directions:

  1. Melt chocolate chips on HIGH in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until melted.
  2. Spoon approximately 1/2 tsp chocolate in bottom of each fillo shell, spreading up onto
  3. sides of shell. Chill in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon raspberry Greek yogurt into fillo shells. Top each shell with a raspberry.
  5. Drizzle melted chocolate onto top of raspberry yogurt mixture for garnish.

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT Positive Nutrition

Recipe adapted from www.allrecipes.com
Photo from www.allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • 1.5lbs chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • ½ cup sweet chili sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients from peanut butter to chili sauce in a bowl until well incorporated.
  2. Place chicken breast in slow cooker and pour mixed ingredients on top.
  3. Add ¼ cup water.
  4. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.
  5. Garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Serve with rice noodles. *Add sriracha sauce for extra spice

Whitney Larsen, RD, LMNT – Positive Nutrition of Omaha 

Jennie A., Collegiate Track & Field Athlete

Athletes’ Training Center has worked to specialize workouts to fit my athletic needs. The strength coaches have a one on one personal connection to fix minor details that have had a major impact on my athletic performance.