Optimal brain function should be a main concern to all aspiring athletes. The better a person's brain functions, the better the person functions overall! Neurofeedback assists in improving brain function, which in turn improves an athletes ability to perform at their best. Many professional athletes utilize neurofeedback to enhance their sports performance, including members of the US Olympic Ski Team, Olympic beach-volleyball player Kerri Walsh-Jennings, and members of the Italian soccer team. In fact, when Italy won the World Cup for soccer in 2006, members of their team described neurofeedback to be their secret weapon in performance ability and success. How exactly does neurofeedback affect a person's ability to play sports?
A comment to a previous blog post got me thinking: it is very reasonable to wonder if neurofeedback can be helpful with performance enhancement. Here at Advanced Neurotherapy, we have helped athletes, composers, choreographers, and business people enhance their performance. There is indeed research on the application of neurofeedback in performance enhancement. Look below for a sample of that research. Please note that the Leveque study demonstrated the improvement of the functioning of neurological systems that support selective attention and inhibition (stopping impulses) in children with ADHD. It is reasonable to extrapolate from this study that the functioning of these structures is also enhanced in high functioning individuals whose goal is performance enhancement. Improved attention impulse control supports this goal.
A sports concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by impact to the head while participating in sports, particularly contact sports. If left untreated, concussions can result in long-term negative affects on brain function and can even result in fatality. This has become a growing problem for young athletes. The American Academy of Pediatrics has reported that emergency room visits due to concussions for children between the ages of 8 and 13 has doubled in the last ten years.
Linda B.'s Story
Hurried but not quite awake, Linda B. left her house on a cold, snowy February morning. There was nothing to grasp in her icy driveway, and she fell quickly, unable to break her fall. Dazed, her heart pounding, she crawled to her car and pulled herself to her feet, carefully touching the growing bump above her left ear. The dazed and dizzy sensations, followed by an annoying headache, were reminiscent of an auto accident two years ago. The forty-four year old fifth grade teacher arrived at her classroom and brushed off the bad start to her day.
Low birth weight is considered less than five pounds eight ounces. In the US, 12% of babies are born prematurely. Since the early 80’s the rate of prematurity has risen by 17%. Research consistently finds a greater risk of developmental disabilities as these children move from infancy through adolescence. Prematurity can result in brain injures causing neuromotor and cognitive deficits. Oxygen deprivation and respiratory problems require oxygen supplementation, and can cause permanent injury to the brain and have been linked to later cognitive and motor deficits. Premature, low birth weight and fragile infants often have a variety of disabilities in the areas of cognitive, academic, sensorimotor, social-emotional and behavioral development.