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Brain Injury: A Career As An Athlete

There might be an impairment in their arousal when someone suffers a brain injury, thus, having an effect on the role of recovery in relearning a motor skill (Goldfine & Schiff, 1). In athletes who have suffered a concussion, they might have problems with arousal. Concussions often occur frequently in sports such as lacrosse or football and can change the ability for arousal for certain athletes. Knowing this, it will help me in trying to figure out what best ways to get the athlete’s arousal up to their optimal level.

I can have an athlete try out different tasks and pose distractions along the way or complicate the skill in order to test their level of arousal post injury. For adults that are not athletes, they may be recovering from a surgery or in need of rehabilitation so that they can get back to their normal daily lives they are use to. It is vital to develop practice conditions as similar as actual test conditions for the patients because practice helps a person build procedural knowledge or episodic memory; one in which they are able to retrieve what the patients had learned when they need in actual situations.

Procedural knowledge is the person’s ability to remember how to perform the skill, but is usually hard to verbalize so it has to be done in order to demonstrate (Magill & Anderson, 239). One example is that a person with knee surgery might want to get back into riding their bicycle again. With their procedural knowledge, they should be able to perform the skill even though they have not been riding their bike for the past couple of months. The term retrieval is vital when it comes to memory and that deals with the ability to shift through long-term memory and get the information needed for the specific task (Magill & Anderson, 239).

Long-term memory plays an important role in retrieval as well and it contains all the permanent storage the brain has processed and coded for memory (Magill & Anderson, 235). Retrieving information from long-term memory will give the patient a likely success on a test, but it will only work out well if the practice in rehabilitation is built to reflect what will occur during a test condition. One example is a volleyball player that may have had an arm injury on their dominant side will have a difficult time getting back into rhythm.

During their rehabilitation sessions, I would have the player first strengthen their arm through many exercises. When I see and feel that the player is ready to use a ball, I will have them practice setting, passing, and hitting very carefully and gently and slowly increase the intensity. In order for the practice conditions to be as similar as possible, I would have the volleyball player practice bumping the ball around with a partner or setting against a wall. One other way might be to get certain equipment available so that the player can pass and set the ball.

Strapping a belt around their waist where the volleyball is attached to a rope is one equipment the player can use to practice passing around the ball on their own. Since volleyball is a sport that contains teammates, it would be difficult to have their practice close to test conditions, but I would do my very best to provide what they need to practice the basics. I would have the players slowly start practicing on a small net or something similar to a volleyball net so that they can get used to hitting the ball over the net.

During practice, it is imperative to know what the relationship is between a practice context and test context. The environmental conditions play a huge role because this will get a person comfortable and situated with their surroundings. In the practice condition, I would do my very best to imitate the environment that they will perform in as best as possible by providing a volleyball net and possible get some of the teammates to help their players out with their rehabilitation.

These specific parts of the practice conditions will influence how the athlete will succeed. The closest a person can get to practice conditions for rehabilitation of a volleyball player would most likely be involved in team practices and doing as much as they can to keep on improving. It is very vital in motor learning to understand how learning occurs because most rehabilitation plans and exercises will revolve around how brain activity in affiliation with body part movements occur.

The different stages of learning can be found in the Fitt’s and Posner’s Three Stage Model. The first stage involves with the beginning of learning a specific motor skill called the cognitive stage (Magill & Anderson, 275). One example is that a child could be learning for the first time how to catch a ball. Someone else would need to teach the child the required position their hands should be in and have them practice that motion. The child should be able to know how the positioning of their arms assist them in catching the ball.

The second stage of the Fitt’s and Posner’s Model is the associative stage, which deals with the continuation of learning through practice and improving in performance (Magill & Anderson, 275). The child would have to continue practicing the motion of using the ball and catching it so that hopefully the child would make fewer errors as time goes on. Finally, as the child gets used to catching the ball, the child has reached the autonomous stage, where they are able to not have to continuously think about every moment they need to make in order to catch the ball (Magill & Anderson, 275).

For the child, it becomes an automatic response and the child should be able to perform the action whenever they need to catch the ball. There are many different types of learning that occur for many patients. Learning one task can be beneficial to them because they can transfer what they had learned to another task. One example is that a skill I would teach would be teaching someone how to walk up and down the stairs with the help of another person or some sort of support system. A support system might be the rail or a cane.

Before the patient is able to walk up and down the stairs, it is imperative that they are able to walk by themselves without a support system because walking on stairs can be complicated. In a rehabilitation situation, some patients who have had a heart attack or a stroke that left them staying in bed for a certain amount of time, they might be able to walk around the rehabilitation facility, but they will need to walk up and down the stairs so that they can take care of themselves. Before moving on to transfer of learning to a different situation, I will explain the basics.

These specific patients are pretty fragile and will need assistance in walking up the stairs, but having them practice some activities before teaching them how to walk up the stairs is essential. One specific activity I would have the patients do is to walk around the hallway without any support and have them continue practicing the activity until they can do it without any fatigue. The next activity would include walking, but this time, there would be pieces of tape on the floor and they will have to step on top of each piece of tape.

The patients should practice this until there is some form of rhythm in which they are able to walk by themselves and without any support. I used the normal walking as the first activity because it gets the patient ready to do something on their own and it also shows me if they have the motivation and strength to learn how to walk up the stairs again. If I see rapid improvement, I will know that the person is motivated to do well and will work hard as they can.

Since this exercise will show me their strength, I can be able to see when the person is ready to handle walking up the stairs. The task will test their transfer of learning, which is the influence of the previous skill they were learning and transitioning that to a new context or the learning of a new skill (Magill & Anderson, 299). If they are able to walk only halfway of the hallway, then that tells me they need to work more on their strength. The second activity will show me whether they have a stride when it comes to walking the stairs.

With this, the patient can practice and get used to taking a certain stride and gather movement on their feet as well. I would use a small staircase for the patient; one that has about three steps with a rail connected one each end. There will be a platform at the top of this small staircase that will give the patient enough room to turn around and walk back down. The railings will support the patient will walking up and down just in case they do not have strength in their legs that can assist them in getting up.

I should expect a positive transfer on this activity because they should have the strength to walk this small staircase. Positive transfer refers to how the previous practice of a certain skill was beneficial to the transfer of a new skill or the same skill in a different context (Magill & Anderson, 299). The first activity should help to build endurance as well and walking without support can be a lot easier for them when they already have support on walking the staircase.

In practicing the second activity, I can expect positive transfer because each stride will assist them in stepping the small staircase without them having to overthink about which foot to use and how they should approach each of the steps. The steps give a good spacing for placing their foot and I hope that this will transfer easily to taking those steps. After accomplishing positive transfer, I would encourage them to try out new skills and come up with a simple exercise routine for them, but at the same time, gives them a necessary workout.

Many studies show how exercise is essential for the elderly and it benefits to it. One example is that in Tsai and Wang’s study, they showed how exercise has positive effects on the brain and helps with the elderly in cognitive performance (Tsai & Wang, 2). Exercise helps increase the blood flow to the brain and is beneficial to their body and well-being. A very important aspect to remember when working with a patient is encouraging them to continue with their exercises and assisting them complete a skill is giving them augmented feedback.

Augmented feedback is feedback given to the performer from an external source (Magill & Anderson, 344). As a physical therapist, I will be working with many different patients, but for this specific application, I will be focusing on adults around the ages of forty-to-fifty. The motor skill I can teach in this career could be one that deals with rehabilitation of the knee after the person has gone through surgery. After knee surgery, it could take a while for the person to be able to put weight and bend their knee again.

The skill would be bending their knee at a ninety-degree angle in a squatting position. This can be important for them if the person lifts and moves objects. I can teach them the proper techniques in doing a squat. Once they can do the squat, I will them do a series of experiments on what they learned by picking up a couple of boxes that are an ideal weight for them to pick up. Adults around forty-to-fifty are active and some of them will have families that they are caring for. It is essential for them to get back on their daily life and be comfortable after their knee surgery.

To assist the patient in achieving their goal of doing a set of six squats correctly, I will have to give the patient feedback based on their results of performance. Two types of augmented feedback that are very helpful to the patient are the knowledge of result, which is when the performer is given feedback based on the result of the performance and knowledge of performance, which is when the performer is given feedback about how their movements affected their performance (Magill & Anderson, 346).

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