Welcome back for part 2 of our Nutrition & Concussion series! This post is a case study on a 13 year old female that sustained a concussion playing basketball. She completed treatment and her return to play protocol, although was still complaining of a 5 minute headache on a daily basis. This headache was not associated with any activity in particular, and in fact went away with physical activity. At this time, with no known cause of the headaches, I had the athlete journal her eating habits for 2 weeks everyday. This included what she ate/drank, when she ate/drank, and when the headache occurred and for how long. We noticed a trend: her headache occurred within 30 minutes after consuming any gluten. I hated to put her on a specific lifestyle change at such a young, influential age, however it was the only thing we had not tried to get rid of her headaches once and for all. The athlete and parent were both more than willing to try going gluten free for 4 weeks to see what happened. Sure enough, the headaches stopped altogether once she substituted her foods with gluten free products. Now, 6 months later, the athlete has completed a gluten re-introduction process and is able to tolerate small amounts of gluten at a time without remorse. She waited until she knew her body was ready (this was a very mindful 13 year old) and listened to her body when it started becoming symptomatic again, by taking out the foods that caused her the headache. With mindfulness and guidance, we can help our athletes reach their goals and change their life long term for the better.

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