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Father and son playing soccer after relief from traumatic brain injury through MeRT

MeRT and Sports Recovery: Healing from Traumatic Brain Injuries

Headaches, dizziness, nausea, memory problems — do you have a traumatic brain injury (TBI)?

Your brain is your most important organ. It controls your thoughts, memories, emotions, motor skills, vision, breathing, body temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates your body. Your brain uses billions of nerve cells to make the connections that you need to keep your mind and body functioning properly. 

When your brain is injured, it can severely impact your life, and these injuries can happen quite easily. From concussions to whiplash, sports-related brain injuries are incredibly common, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). More than one million sports-related TBIs occur every year. 

These injuries decrease cognitive function and cause your overall performance to decline. Here’s how MeRT treats TBIs. 

Find out if MeRT can help you recover from your TBI or concussion. Start with a free MeRT Webinar.

Traumatic Brain Injuries Explained

Your brain is a delicate organ, making it prone to injury. The skull is the primary defense against brain injury, and fluid surrounds the brain for additional protection. Unfortunately, these buffers are not always enough, and a brain injury may still occur.

A brain injury occurs when there is a disruption of the nerves or signals in the brain. This is usually the result of a blow or jolt to the head that causes damage to your brain tissue. Brain injuries can happen in various ways, including trauma from a sports-related injury. 

TBIs are caused by an external force (falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries). In contrast, non-traumatic brain injuries are caused by internal factors (stroke, near-drowning, aneurysm, lack of oxygen to the brain). 

Brain Injuries and Sports

There are significant physical, social, and mental health benefits to participating in sports and recreational activities, but there is also a risk of sustaining a serious injury. 

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Contact sports such as football, hockey, soccer, and rugby are well-known to have opportunities for collisions, and therefore, the potential for TBI. But injuries are also common in low-impact sports such as bicycling, horseback riding, skateboarding, and ice-skating. 

Since organized sports are so popular amongst school-age children and young adults, these age groups are particularly high-risk. In fact, TBI is a leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults in the United States. 

In general, 10% of TBIs are due to sports and recreational activities. However, for children and young adults, this jumps to over 21% of TBIs being due to sports and recreational activities.


Concussions can occur in any sport, contact or non-contact. And the risk of TBI increases with every concussion you sustain. Concussions are a type of TBI caused by a bump, blow, or jolt that causes the head and brain to shake rapidly back and forth, such as a direct blow to the face during a boxing match. 

Concussions due to sports are incredibly prevalent. Each year, between 1.7 and 3 million sports-related concussions happen. Around 300,000 of those are from football alone.

Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms

Symptoms for TBIs can range from mild to severe, making them difficult to diagnose at times. Mild cases of TBI may only briefly alter your mental state, while severe cases can result in long periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death. Mild concussions usually resolve over time, but the injury may not heal despite many medications or treatments if it is a more serious TBI. 

The most common symptoms of mild TBIs include:

  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Chronic headache
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Balance problems
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Possible loss of consciousness
  • Blurry vision 
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Ringing in the ears

Common symptoms of moderate to severe TBIs include:

  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Muscle tightening
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vision loss 
  • Slurred speech
  • Hearing problems
  • Involuntary eye movement
  • Severe headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tingling or numbness in the limbs
  • Coordination problems
  • Breathing and swallowing problems
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

Symptoms don’t always appear right away, sometimes taking days or weeks to present themselves. This is because shock and adrenaline often prevent victims from immediately detecting TBI symptoms. 

If you detect any of the above symptoms in yourself or a loved one, you should seek medical attention immediately. The sooner a TBI is diagnosed, the better the prognosis will likely be. If left untreated, a TBI can lead to significant complications and shorten your lifespan. 

Beyond the physical issues, numerous emotional and psychological problems result from TBI, lasting beyond the initial injury. These include:

  • Impaired memory 
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Inability to manage time and get things done
  • Deficits in attention and concentration
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Aggression or other personality changes

Watch our free webinar to learn more about how MeRT can help. 

MeRT Treatment for Sports-Related Traumatic Brain Injuries

The brain plays a critical role in an athlete’s performance – from increasing the body’s capacity for endurance to being able to accurately predict the moves of other players. When the brain is injured, it can hurt performance or affect the individual’s ability to participate in the sport or activity altogether.  

TBIs can cause several long-term issues, such as:

  • Insomnia
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Food intolerances
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Compromised immune systems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic pain

Functional medicine can help address these issues by identifying the root causes. Nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management can play a big role in your overall brain health. Lifestyle changes are often paired with MeRT treatment to help you optimally restore your health.

MeRT – short for Magnetic EEG/EKG-guided Resonance Therapy – is a relatively new treatment that uses no drugs or medications and is completely non-invasive. This pain-free treatment uses magnetic waves to balance and stimulate your brain function and can be used to treat several conditions, including TBIs.

At Tri-Cities Functional Medicine, we know that no two brains are alike. Your brain’s electrical activity, brain waves, and thought patterns are completely unique. Through our MeRT process, we will create a unique treatment plan based on the specific dysfunction occurring in your brain.  

So how does MeRT work? Before starting any treatment, we first perform a quantitative EEG to determine the exact frequency of your brain. This is often referred to as “brain mapping.” Essentially, we measure electrical activity of your neurons to locate the areas of your brain that are not communicating properly. These dysfunctions can include TBIs, emotional disorders, behavioral issues, and more. 

Then we carefully analyze the data from the qEEG to assess your brain’s pattern of function and activity. With this information, we can then devise a highly personalized plan for you.

Once a plan is in place, we use gentle magnetic waves to stimulate the parts of your brain that aren’t communicating properly and specifically nurture them to improve their functionality. Typically, treatment lasts four to six weeks, with 45-minute sessions each week. In general, the longer the length of MeRT treatment process, the longer the changes remain.  

MeRT treatment can help your healing process after a TBI, both by providing a better understanding of the extent of the brain injury to develop a customized treatment and by enhancing the healing process through MeRT therapy.

Patients who receive MeRT treatment report better concentration and focus, a greater ability to cope with stress, improved mood, and improved mental clarity and memory.

Interested in seeing if MeRT is the right treatment for you? Take the first step:

  1. Watch our free MeRT webinar to learn about our approach to the cognitive and neurological concerns you are facing.
  2. Schedule a Free Discovery Call to discuss your health concerns and goals to see if MeRT is a good fit for you.
  3. After your discovery call – if we are a good fit, you’ll schedule your qEEG and consultation with our doctor to dive deeper and formulate an individualized treatment plan for you.

Tri-Cities Functional Medicine is located in Johnson City, Tennessee, and serves patients throughout East Tennessee and into Virginia and North Carolina. These areas include but are not limited to: Washington County, TN, Sullivan County, TN, Carter County, TN, Greene County, TN, Knox County, TN, Bristol, TN, Holston Valley, TN, Tri-Cities, TN, Walnut Hill, TN, Elizabethton, TN, Greeneville, TN, Morristown, TN, Blountville, TN, Bluff City, TN, Kingsport, TN, Jonesborough, TN, Colonial Heights, TN, Limestone, TN, Knoxville, TN, Bristol, VA, and Abingdon, VA.