Thursday, September 19, 2019
NFL, Olympic Clinician to Address Brain Health
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Kathryn Guylay is using WAVi headsets to assess brain performance.
 
Tuesday, September 3, 2019
 

STORY AND PHOTO BY KAREN BOSSICK

Until recently, an athlete who got knocked loopy could expect a simple assessment: How many fingers am I holding up?

If he guessed the correct answer, he was inserted right back in the game.

That’s not the case anymore as brain researchers realize the long-lasting implications a concussion can have.

“Every one of our brains has enough voltage to light up a light bulb. If we’re hit in the head, our voltage might go down 40 percent,” said Kathryn Guylay, who is researching brain health assessments for her  Master degree in counseling. “You might not realize how you’ve been affected. But maybe you go to school the next day and the teachers say, ‘You’re not paying attention.’ ”

Guylay wants to spread awareness about the effect of concussions and the tools for promoting recovery. To that end she has organized a free presentation addressing “Brain-Body Vitality: Overcoming Concussions & Injury” from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5, at the Ketchum Innovation Center, 180 W. 6th St.

It will feature Paige Roberts, a neuro-performance specialist, from Seattle who has worked with Seattle Seahawks players and members of U.S. Olympic snowsports teams.

She will be joined by Maria Maricich, an Olympic downhiller-turned-chiropractic and wellness doctor, who addresses the inflammatory and metabolic damage that result from concussions.

Brain inflammation doesn’t hurt, as does other types of inflammation, such as a sprained ankle or pinched back nerve, noted Maricich. And it’s not visible even on medical imaging unless there’s a significant bleed. But it can show up as brain fog, neurological issues, depression, anxiety and other symptoms.

And symptoms can progress long after the incident.

Roberts became interested in addressing concussions after an NFL player who had endured multiple concussions had dinner with her one night, then went home and took his life.

A licensed clinical social worker and sports psychology clinician, she also is a Brainspotter, certified brain health coach, light therapist working out of her practice Paige Roberts Performance Neuro Training.

She uses a variety of tools, including hot and cold photobiomodulation, laser healing, cognitive corrective exercise, biofeedback and trigger point and self-myo-fascial release techniques.

She has used brainspotting to address everything from insomnia to peak performance since its introduction in 2003.

The technique identifies and releases neurophysiological sources of emotional or body pain, trauma, dissociation and other symptoms. Roberts identifies the brainspot or eye position related to the activation of the issue within the brain. Then she has the subject watch a pointer go back and forth while listening to bilateral sound to help the brain process the trauma.

Among those she’s used it on is a freestyle skier with Olympic potential who developed secondary trauma after he saw a fellow athlete fall and get a concussion. Stuck in his brain, he followed suit and got a concussion, as well. Roberts worked with him not only to heal his brain but to undo the psychological block.

In another case, she worked with a figure skater who could not do a triple loop, no matter how much the coach tried to talk her through it. Roberts used brainspotting to erase that blockage, as well.

Roberts also uses things like low level laser therapy, or photobiomodulation, which uses lasers or light emitting diodes to stimulate cellular function. Similarly, infrared light stimulates mitochondria to help heal, reducing the effects of concussion by 50 percent.

Maricich uses flavonoids, among other tools, to help promote healing, as well as provide protection.

Certain exercises can stimulate healing in the brain. Even nutrition can make a huge difference, said Guylay.

“Things like food dye, for instance, are not good for the brain,” she said.

Guylay became interested in learning about different modalities to heal the brain after she realized that medications she and family members had been prescribed could affect the brain adversely. That led her to return to school for a Master degree in counseling, for which she’s taking classes teaching her about how to assess the results of treatments like biofeedback on the brain.

She just embarked on a research project, involving WAVi headsets, which target 19 spots in the brain. . Nobel laureate Tom Cech’s Biofrontiers Institute at the University of Colorado has used them to study pre-symptom Alzheimer’s, NCAA athletes’ concussions, the correlation between hearing loss and mental function and the effects of things like ADHD medication on brain performance.

Guylay suggests that everyone—but athletes, in particular—should get baseline brain scans.

“This is a very active community, and I think it’s important for people in this community to know about these things.  If you do get a knock to the head, it can be assuring to know that your voltage is okay.”

Guylay said she has invited sports coaches, school officials and hospital representatives to Thursday’s  talk.

“I just want to have a conversation about ways we can support our athletes. Being aware is the first step,” she said. “Concussions can be stressful and scary. But the more information you have about how to fix the brain, the better.”

 

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