Sports Neuropsychology Treatment Program in Lakewood, NJ
Sports Neuropsychology (SN) is an evolving discipline that has become a natural outgrowth of Sports Medicine (SM). The field of SM is complex and deals with physical fitness, treatment and prevention of sports related injuries, and training athletes of all levels to excel in all levels of competition.
The official definition of the Sports Neuropsychology Society is: a subspecialty of Clinical Neuropsychology that applies the science and understanding of brain-behavior relationships to the assessment and treatment of sports related brain injury. The practice of Sports Psychology requires education, training, experience, and competence in the field of clinical neuropsychology, followed by a secondary specialization through experience and understanding of applying clinical neuropsychology to the unique demands of evaluating and treating brain injury in the sports domain.
We at NRS|LS evaluate and treat the cognitively impaired athlete along with the non-injured athlete in terms of psychological preparation to enhance performance.
Steps of our Sports Neuropsychology Program
- Prior to the athletic season, a pre-participation cognitive screen by a qualified individual will be administered to each athlete at our facility. It is important for individual assessment due to the significant individual differences among athletes. This cognitive screen will serve as a baseline for future testing. Following an injury, an athlete’s performance is compared to his/her baseline level of performance, rather than to group normative data.
- If the athlete sustains a concussion, our neuropsychologists will be contacted immediately. Our neuropsychologists will immediately communicate with the athlete, family members and medical team. At this point, the athlete is not able to return to sports.
- Next, depending upon the nature of the concussion, symptoms, etc., the athlete may or may not return to school. Psychoeducation, via Medical Adjustment Counseling (MAC), will be initiated immediately. MAC is a specialized treatment program that addresses physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive residuals from brain related disorders.
- Serial cognitive screens will be administered weekly. If the post injury cognitive residuals do not resolve, a follow-up NPE is recommended to provide additional data regarding return to school and eventually return to sports.
Value of Our Program
The role of our Sports Neuropsychology Program is not to prevent concussions or brain injuries. These injuries are inherent in sports. Our services are useful to the athlete, school, professional organization and the sports medicine team. NRS/LS provides valuable information that can be used to determine return-to-play decisions, return to school decisions which minimize the risk of a second concussion prior to the resolution of the first (cumulative effect). Furthermore, objective data is communicated to the athlete’s medical team/school personnel and educate the athlete and family members.
Our approach will reduce complications from concussion that can lead to chronic symptoms, extended periods of time without playing, or even premature career termination.
- Pre-participation cognitive screeners
- Comprehensive Neuropsychological Examination as needed with abbreviated formats
- Post injury cognitive testing
- Consultation with physicians, trainers, athletes and families
- Implementation of immediate academic support or 504 plan
- Treatment via Medical Adjustment Counseling, Biofeedback, Cognitive Rehabilitation
7 tips to obtain the Winning Mindset
- Motivate the athlete internally- external motivation is obvious (trophies, name in the newspaper, etc.). However, the athlete that learns to compete against him/herself develops a unique competitive edge and continues to strive for perfection.
- Mental toughness (confidence to handle pressure). Many times a good athlete just folds under pressure. Why? He/she can learn how to enter a different mindset during stressful times.
- Sensory overload. Many athletes cannot handle the stress of the environment during competition for several reasons. To gain control over his/her physiological system is paramount in order to maximize ability.
- Optimize visualization. The greatest athletes in the world utilize visualization. This key cognitive skill enables athletes to utilize motor and sensory memory to duplicate mastered skills.
- Train the body as a temple. The athlete needs to focus on sleep, food, hydration, substances, rest, etc. in order sustain training and produce results.
- Preparation and delayed gratification. Success comes at the confluence when preparation meets opportunity. The athlete will come to accept the countless hours of training in order to be prepared to win.
- Handling outside distractors. Athletes do not live in a bubble. Relationship stress, school work, mental health issues, etc. all affect an athlete’s ability to succeed. Learning how to cope with distractors is vital
Here at the NRS|LS Sports Neuropsychology Program, with over 35 years of experience, we train athletes via a multidiscipline approach. Specifically, we utilize cognitive behavioral techniques, where goal setting, understanding and maximizing “self-talk”, defining purpose of play and provide psychological conditioning.
In addition, our state of the art biofeedback system enables athletes to learn how to self-regulate their body responses, improve “in the zone” focusing abilities via neurofeedback and ultimately bring a sense of control to the athlete.
NRS|LS Sports Neuropsychology Program not only focuses and treats the uninjured athlete for sports optimization but also the injured athlete via concussion management, psychological adjustment issues as it pertains to sports and we are affiliated with a multi-disciplinary team where agility/strength training and rehabilitation is available.