MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ben Utecht is used to training for game day on the field, but at the Learning RX facility in Savage, the work is tough.
“It’s extremely hard.” Utecht said, at his weekly visit to the center.
He’s working with trainer Bradley Olson to help strengthen his memory retention skills.
“I’m getting better,” he said.
The exercises include visual and audio work, where Utecht is asked to perform tasks which make his brain stronger.
Utecht suffered five concussions in his career and said he started noticing memory loss in 2011.
“The scary stuff is just there are just gaps that are no longer there,” he said
For example, he said at the holidays when all the relatives are sharing stories about an event that took place, he will have no memory of it at all.
“So if I can find a way moving from this day forward, to find a new way to retain those long term memories, then I’m going to be really excited.” he said.
Olson said some of the old memories could come back, but this work is more for strengthening skills going forward. The number of people who suffer from brain injury in this country is increasing every year.
“Tons of kids. I think you know, you play sports and get your bell rung and say I saw stars.” Olsen said.
He said they not only work with people who have had concussions, but also with students who just want to do better in school. Utecht started coming to the Learning RX center about two months ago and is already seeing results.
“The forgetfulness with note taking or scheduling has gotten a lot better,” he said
Utecht said the “concussion crisis” is full of people looking for help.
“And there are just not a lot of answers right now.” he said
He said those answers have to be sound and credible such as the work that’s being done at the center. The American Academy of Neurology said last year, there were three million documented concussions.
“That’s just the documented cases,”Utecht said
It doesn’t include the non-athlete who may just fall off their bike. He said people are suffering and for many there are consequences, and if one part of that could be cognitive training.