Articles Posted in Brain Injury

_DSC6907Eight high school football players in the country have already died from sports-related injuries sustained this season. With increased focus across the nation on the risks of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and high school sports, officials in California have decided to take a closer look at the future of high school football in our state. According to a recent article in the Contra Costa Times, in response to football fatalities, “the administrator who oversees high school athletics in California raised concerns this week about the sport’s future.

Critical Juncture in High School Football

Does high school football have a future in the San Diego area? Or do the risks of traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries (SCIs), and other serious wounds outweigh student and parent interest in allowing the sport to continue? Roger Blake, the executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), suggested that we may not see football being played at high schools in a handful of years: “I think honestly—and I say this in all sincerity—I think high school football, we’re at a critical juncture in the next two to three years.”

FootballOver the last five years or so, new research on sports-related concussions and the long-term effects of mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) has yielded startling results. According to a recent article from CNN News, a team of researchers just reported findings that may suggest chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) occurs more often than we previously suspected. As a brief reminder, CTE is a degenerative brain condition that can ultimately produce debilitating and life-altering effects.

Majority of Former NFL Players Suffered from Degenerative Condition

The new study concluded that 87 out of 91 former NFL players studied—96% of all former players examined—suffered from the degenerative brain condition known as CTE. Currently, CTE can only be diagnosed with certainty after death. As such, the recent research focused on the brain of 91 former NFL players who had donated their brains to science for the purpose of learning more about the long-term effects of head trauma on athletes.

A recent article in The New York Times asked whether a ban on heading in kids’ soccer games might prevent traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) altogether. While parents across the country would like to see changes to the sport that make it safer for children and teens, a heading ban might not be the answer to the problem. Although some advocates argue that “ridding youth soccer of heading . . . would virtually rid the sport of severe head injuries,” medical experts suggest this likely isn’t the case at all.578570787_d8b82bef46

Relationship Between Heading and Head Trauma

In response to safety advocates’ arguments that youth soccer should ban heading, Dawn Comstock, an associate professor of public health at the University of Colorado, decided to undertake a study on the relationship between heading and head trauma. They ultimately published their findings in JAMA Pediatrics, but their research began with the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study. This is an online database that Dr. Comstock administers, and it collects reports from across the country.

Do helmets really help to prevent children and teens from sustaining serious and life-threatening traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)? According to a recent report from Fox 5 San Diego, a teen athlete at Torrey Pines High School recently shared how wearing a helmet while skateboarding could have changed his life by preventing the severe head trauma he sustained.4388608397_ebb4de8f49

Head Injury Left Teen in Coma, Required Multiple Surgeries

Brian Applegate, a 17-year-old former star athlete and water polo player in Southern California, was forced to “relearn everything after a skateboarding accident in May left him with a severe brain injury.” Indeed, Applegate “spent 5 weeks in a coma and underwent several surgeries.” Now that his life is no longer in danger, he “spends hours in daily rehabilitation, relearning everything from walking, to talking, to basics like catching a ball.” And he knows that his life-threatening injuries could have been prevented if he had only worn a helmet.

While the NFL concussion lawsuits have made many Californians aware of the risks of sports-related head trauma, it’s important to remember that these injuries aren’t limited to professional sports. Indeed, a recent article in Consumer Affairs reported that “high school players are at much higher risk than youth- or college-level players” of sustaining a traumatic brain injury (TBI) on the field. And when do most of these injuries take place? According to the article, it’s not during the games. Rather, a majority of concussions occur during regular practices.

2827895389_77089d7e54

Call for Action in High School Practices

Did you know that more than 50 percent of all concussions sustained among high school and college players take place during practices? That’s the conclusion drawn by researchers in a new study in JAMA Pediatrics, which examined data from more than 20,000 athlete seasons. If so many TBIs are taking place during practices, should coaches and other officials be doing more to prevent these serious injuries?

Youth football leagues have paid attention to the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), multiple concussions, and the risks of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). To be sure, one Pop Warner football program in northern California now requires its players to wear helmets that have “special brain sensors” installed, according to a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle.american-football-155961_1280

Brain Sensor Technology Sends Alerts

California youth sports leagues appear to be leading the way in brain injury prevention. The Southern Broncos are the first Pop Warner team in California—as well as the first team in the country—to require helmets with brain sensors. According to the article, “they launched a three-year pilot program with sensors manufactured by a Maryland company called Brain Sentry.” The device is just about the size of a USB drive, and it’s placed in the back of each player’s helmet. When a player suffers a potentially dangerous hit, “the alert light turns solid red.”

Did you know that March is brain injury awareness month? Millions of Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year, while many more continue to live with the effects of serious head trauma. In order to raise awareness about the severity of a brain injury—both to the victims themselves, as well as to the family members, friends, co-workers, and employers of the victims—and the ways we can help to prevent serious accidents from taking place.

492360299_a997e46ea0

Not Alone in Brain Injury Awareness, Treatment, and Prevention

Each year, the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) observes Brain Injury Awareness Month and develops a theme for its advocacy work. Between 2015-2017, the theme is “not alone.” According to the BIAA, “the Not Alone campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families.” In addition, the campaign “lends itself to outreach within the brain injury community to de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.”

brain-injury-300x240Serious accidents and injuries can take place anywhere, and they often happen when we’re least expecting them. Depending on the type and severity of an injury, the consequences can be life-long. According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, a young Carlsbad man recently suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) while playing in a recreational softball league. While he’s currently in stable condition, doctors worry that he may not be able to fully recover.

A “Freak Accident” on the Softball Field

Less than a week ago, 28-year-old Mike Petracca had been in Las Vegas for a softball tournament. However, while he was walking across the softball fields, he sustained a TBI in what his coach referred to as “a freak accident.” While Petracca was walking between the fields, a “softball bat slipped from a player’s hands, flew like a rocket nearly 90 feet over a fence and struck Petracca in the head.”

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have serious consequences. Even concussions, or mild TBIs, can result in significant threats to long-term health. Did you know that many people don’t even realize they have concussions? When head trauma patients don’t receive proper medical care and treatment, those mild TBIs can be even more dangerous. Now, research into a new eye-tracking technology, published recently in the Journal of Neurosurgery, promises to make concussion evaluations easier than ever.

13994747444_60d2d7a2d8

Background of the New Brain Injury Technology

The new technology was developed at the NYU Langone Medical Center using 169 patients, according to a recent article in Forbes. Of those patients 157 were “neurologically normal,” or had no brain injury. Twelve of the patients had brain injuries, or “demonstrated specific abnormalities in cranial nerves controlling eye movement or brain swelling close to those nerves.” When these nerves are damaged—in other words, when a person sustains a brain injury—their eye movements change.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can result from many different kinds of accidents; often, these serious and life-threatening injuries are not preventable. But if we know what kinds of accidents can put our kids at risk of a severe head trauma, can we work on better preventing these injuries from occurring?

Reasons for TBIs Shift from Cfile000478062624hildhood to Adulthood

A recent article on NPR discussed the different ways in which children sustain TBIs. Adults sustain brain injuries most often following involvement in a car accident, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children, however, tend to sustain TBIs more frequently from falls. According to the article, the changes in the ways that children, teens, and adults suffer injuries tend to shift as “their forms of motion change.” And the types of fall-related injuries also vary depending upon the age of the child.

01 02 03 04