Articles Posted in Concussion

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New Focus on Soccer and Brain Injury

In our recent posts, we shared information about the most common causes of brain injury. These include, falls, motor vehicle accidents and sports injuries. More and more information and research is being published on the most publicized issue with sports and brain injury — those injuries suffered by NFL players. This important work has shed new light on the incidence in professional football players of what is called chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE. CTE is now considered a major risk for these athletes, in varying degrees. Depending on the position played, CTE is a degenerative brain disease which is caused by many hits to the head over time. For example, those players in more heavy contact positions have more evidence of this disease than a kicker.

A recent article in Wired magazine exposes concussion concerns the other sport that is now played by millions of kids across America, soccer. There was was a time when “English football” was relatively unknown in our country. But now, most kids are exposed to soccer and play it from the time they are very small children often into adulthood. Its a great game and it gets our kids outside and running, which is wonderful exercise. But soccer also can result in head impact both through player contact and heading the ball and in soccer there are no helmets.

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Sports Injuries and Concussion 

As we continue our series on leading causes of traumatic brain injury, in this post we discuss sports injuries. Athletics for kids and adults has become integral to our lives. Americans are more active than ever with various types of sports including ice hockey, cheerleading, basketball, football, soccer and cycling. Each of these sports has its joys and each of them can result in concussion.

The National Safety Council has noted that every ninety seconds somewhere in the United States a child is being treated for a concussion that has resulted from a sports activity. In basketball and soccer, girls are about five percent more likely to have a concussion than boys. Those studying kids’ sports concussions have not yet determined why girls are statistically more likely to suffer a concussion than boys. This could be related to biomechanics or could be due to some other reason, but the answer is not known. Although more high school level kids are more likely to have a concussion than younger kids, the numbers are increasing for younger kids.

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What is Concussion?

In recent years, concussion has become a much more familiar word to many. There is much more awareness about this type of injury than there was even five years ago. This is perhaps due to news about concussion in the National Football League which has implemented concussion protocols to protect players from getting on the field after suffering a concussion. The feature film Concussion brought awareness to this type of injury and its long term effects on football players. According to the Centers for Disease Control here in Atlanta, the leading cause of concussion are falls which are more likely to occur with children and the older population. Statistically, motor vehicle accidents are the third leading cause of concussion and about one-third of the concussions that result from motor vehicle crashes result in the patient’s death.

What is concussion and why is it important to understand? Concussion is a form of Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI. TBI’s can result from a blow to the head which might happen in a fall or a vehicle accident right here in Gwinnett County. Some might recall the tragic head injury that caused the death of Liam Neeson’s wife Natasha Richardson. She fell skiing and sustained a blow to her head. The severity of her injuries were not immediately obvious. She even signed a document at the ski resort that said she did not need help. But within a fairly short period of time, she went into a coma and by the time she arrived at hospital, she had to be put on life support. Her brain was severely bruised. She had an epidural hematoma which caused swelling in her brain. This was the result of what seemed to be a minor blow to her head.