More than 7 million student athletes participate in high school sports alone. Sports that have an increased risk of sport related head injuries and concussions are: football, soccer, gymnastics, lacrosse, wrestling, diving and basketball. Once a teen has sustained one concussion, he or she is 4 to 6 times more likely to suffer a second one. Loss of consciousness is a hallmark for a concussion but does not necessarily always happen. Other serious signs of a concussion or severe head trauma that a school professional or parent should familiarize oneself with are: disorientation, memory problems, confusion, drowsiness, headache, dizziness, lack of balance, double or blurry vision, nausea & vomiting, sensitivity to light, mood swings and slowed reactions to stimuli. A teen can suffer a concussion or brain injury and never be diagnosed. Some of these signs may be subtle and show up much later after the injury. A teen may only show subtle signs of a brain injury such as, slower performance on cognitive exams, headaches, depression or neck pain, which may be overlooked and go untreated. Insults to the brain from sport related injuries have been shown to lead to brain degeneration and Dementia-like disorders in the future. A teen can not have an impact to the head without affecting the upper cervical spine, usually with the brunt of the force at the Atlas bone. The Atlas bone is the top bone of the spine where the brain stem and spinal cord meet. Head injuries with insult to the upper cervical spine cause a misalignment of the Atlas bone that results in a narrowing of the cervical spinal canal. Due to the close anatomical proximity of the Atlas bone and the brain stem, this misalignment can affect neurological function in the brain stem such as interference in communication between the brain and the body and can even result in decreased blood flow to the brain. A recent study by Dr. Scott Rosa showed an increase in blood flow and cerebrospinal fluid to the brain following upper cervical chiropractic care on MRI. Insult to the upper cervical spine following a head trauma can also lead to postural imbalances such as, straightening or a reversal of the cervical curve, which may lead to instability and strain in the upper cervical region.If your teen is subjected to repeated head impact in sports, make sure they are getting plenty of rest and have his or her upper cervical spine evaluated for a misalignment. Correction of a misalignment in the upper cervical spine will remove neurological interference between the brain and body and increase blood flow to the brain so that the brain and body can function at its optimal levels.Upper cervical chiropractic focuses on the intimate relationship of the top two bones of the spine and the brain stem, which is a vital portion of the nervous system. Upper cervical care focuses on finding and removing interference in the nervous system that may be the underlying primary cause of chronic health conditions. There is no popping or cracking, just gentle and precise adjustments determined through a three dimensional x-ray analysis and comprehensive chiropractic evaluation.