The NFL's concussion crisis is going to hit the big screen with the film Concussion, due out Christmas Day. It stars Will Smith as Bennet Omalu, the real Pittsburgh forensic pathologist who first discovered a neurodegenerative disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in the brains of football players. CTE is the result of repeated brain trauma over time and causes depression, dementia, and other behavioral changes.
This recent attention to long term brain injuries and concussions in sports has warranted a look into how children and adolescents are impacted when head injuries occur in their sport.
According to a blog post from the New York Times, the young brain is especially susceptible to concussion, and sports-related concussions account for more than half of all emergency room visits by children aged 8 through 13, according to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. A child who suffers a concussion is one and a half times more likely to experience another, and those who have had two concussions have a threefold greater risk of the same injury happening again.
“Studies have also found that more than 50 percent of high school athletes and 70 percent of college athletes failed to report concussions they had sustained while playing football,” says New York Times contributor, Jane E. Brody.
Steven P. Broglio, the director of the Neurotrauma Research Lab at the University of Michigan says, “the usual five-minute assessment done on the sidelines to check an injured athlete’s ability to orient, remember, concentrate and recall words misses about 40 percent of concussions. A single test is not diagnostic and should not be relied on. Multiple different tests taken together can increase the sensitivity to the mid- to upper 90s.”
We need to start understanding the severity of traumatic brain injuries and treating them no different than we would any other bodily injury.
This is certainly to never deter any child from playing physical activities, but with this vast encyclopedia of knowledge at our disposal, it’s important to educate yourself on the growing concern of concussions, their link to long-term effects and how to mitigate and tend to any injuries that occur in sports.
Check out the HEADS UP Concussion in Youth Sports initiative, where they supply specific concussion information for coaches, parents and young athletes.
A brain injury can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms vary from person to person. The personal injury lawyers at Harris Law understand the extensive and complex needs your loved one has after experiencing a TBI. We are thoroughly committed to doing whatever it takes to get you the compensation you deserve.