About Dr. Brandon Bockewitz

Dr. Brandon Bockewitz is a family medicine doctor who specializes in sports medicine. He sees patients at Methodist North at Allen Road. Call 309-693-2020 to make an appointment.

Do your weights workout first

Weight training should be done first, because it’s a higher intensity exercise compared to cardio. Your body is better able to handle weight training early in the workout because you’re fresh and you have the energy you need to work it.

Conversely, cardiovascular exercise should be the last thing you do at the gym, because it helps your body recover by increasing blood flow to the muscles, and flushing out lactic acid, which builds up in the muscles while you’re weight training. It’s the lactic acid that makes your muscles feel stiff and sore.

Work out for free

You don’t necessarily need to buy a gym membership or equipment to get fit.

Look for fitness stations with equipment such as rings, benches and pull-up bars near popular trails or parks.

If any member of your family attends a local university, you may be eligible to work out in the school’s fitness facilities.

Sport facilities such as stadiums and tracks may be available for public training use between events.

Commit to wellness

Don’t leave workouts or other wellness activities, for “when you get around to them.” Make your own fitness and wellness a priority by scheduling regular appointments for workouts or other self-nourishing activities into every day, even if it’s something as quick and simple as stopping to take five deep breaths before going home from work.

Chewing tobacco: It’s not just ‘part of the game’

After the World Series champion is decided this week, one thing will be left up in the air: Will Major League Baseball ban chewing tobacco?

Lawmakers recently proposed this, saying it sets a bad example for young fans.

Unfortunately, I see a lot of kids who use chewing tobacco, although they never admit it during their visits. I generally see it with kids from more rural areas and smaller schools, but definitely in the baseball population.

The first problem with smokeless tobacco is that it’s addictive. It’s not realistic – or safe – to chew it just during sports.

The risks of chewing tobacco range from bad teeth to death. It can cause cavities, gum disease and lesions. This is because tobacco is contains coarse particles and a lot of sugar.

Smokeless tobacco can cause cancer in your esophagus, mouth, throat, cheek, gums, lips and tongue. This cancer can be life-threatening. And surgery to remove this cancer could leave you disfigured. Tobacco users also face higher risks of other types of cancer.

Clearly, chewing tobacco, like smoking cigarettes, can cause serious health problems. I should also note that it hasn’t been proved to help you quit smoking. If you try to switch one for the other, you could end up with two harmful habits.

Despite whether Major League Baseball bans tobacco, it’s important for parents – and even coaches – to talk to their kids about the dangers of tobacco. Almost all first-time tobacco use happens during high school – if not earlier.

So, talk to your children about not using tobacco. And if they are using it – or you are – talk to your doctor about effective ways to quit.

Concussions are a serious concern for student athletes

Concussions are common in high school footballConcussion is the most commonly reported injury in youth sports, at about 4 million per year in the U.S. Some of the long-term health consequences — permanent brain damage, depression and even death — have seen significant exposure in the medical literature and national news in the last few years. But despite its prevalence in youth sports and its potential long-term complications, athletes, parents and even physicians too often minimize the seriousness of concussions.

What is a concussion?

Essentially, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury that disrupts normal brain function. It is a traumatic process, but does not have to be caused by a blow to the head (e.g., whiplash). It is a temporary injury that resolves spontaneously. And, because it affects the brain function and not the structure, radiology tests (CT/MRI) cannot identify it.


Common symptoms of concussion include: headache or pressure, neck pain, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, sensitivity to light/sound, blurry vision. Common signs that may suggest someone is suffering from a concussion include: vomiting, confusion, memory loss, seizures, irritability, balance problems, and loss of consciousness.


Concussions need to be treated similarly to any other sports related injury — with rest. The brain, just like bone, muscle and tendons, must be allowed to fully recover before returning to sporting activities in order to minimize the risk of re-injury. If you sprained your ankle or pulled a hamstring, would you expect to return to full activity before your injury was healed?

New state law

Gov. Pat Quinn recently enacted the Protecting Our Student Athletes Act. This new law, in conjunction with recommendations from the Illinois High School Association, states that any student athlete suspected to have suffered a concussion must be immediately removed from play and will not be allowed to return until he/she is evaluated by a physician or a certified athletic trainer working in conjunction with a physician.