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Brain Injury News and Research - Concussion

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New Report Finds CTE High Among Football Players

A new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that football players are highly likely to suffer serious brain damage from concussions. Donated brains were examined and of the 202 tested, 177 had chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease that is likely caused by repeated traumatic injuries to the head. Those with a history of several or more concussions are most commonly at risk. The new report confirms what many doctors and researchers have suspected – that repeated head injuries cause severe damage to the brain which is evident in those who have suffered from repeated trauma.

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Concussions and Brain Damage

Concussions are caused by sudden or severe impact to the head. The impact may cause a person to lose consciousness. However, a person can suffer a concussion without becoming unconscious. A traumatic brain injury can cause damage that isn’t always visible on CT scans. Damage from a concussion can impact different areas of the cerebrum, depending on where the impact occurred. Therefore, the damage can affect cognitive functions in many ways. It is important for those who suffer from a concussion to allow enough time for the brain to fully heal before participating in any activity that could reinjure the head.

Second Impact Syndrome

Second Impact Syndrome (SIS) happens when a person suffers another head injury before the body is fully healed from a previous one. In this case, the cerebrum is more susceptible to injury, and it takes a much lower force to cause severe and sometimes irreparable harm. Thus, even a relatively minor hit to the head could cause damage. Those who suffered an injury in the past, even if it has healed, could be more susceptible to injuries in the future.

The study found that most of the professional athletes who suffer from CTE likely had several or more concussions while they were still in school. This makes it particularly important for parents and coaches to take special precautions to ensure the safety of children athletes. The Brain Injury Association of America called for flag football players to wear protective head gear in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. The request comes after increased awareness of concussions after former NFL players brought a lawsuit against the NFL. Also, the recent movie called “Concussion” shed more light on the dangers of concussions in sports.