Articles Posted in Brain Injury

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Did the NFL turn over a new leaf when it comes to traumatic brain injuries, or is the league attempting to paint itself in a better light in the media? According to a recent post in GeekWire, the NFL provided $3.5 million in funding for brain injury prevention projects across the country, including one in southern California.

Head Health Challe_DSC6907 (1)nges Allots Funds for Brain Injury Research Teams

In connection with Under Armour and GE, the league developed the “Head Health Challenge,” a plan designed to give researchers “funding to develop new ways to prevent, measure, and detect brain injury.” All in all, it is a $60 million initiative that will provide money to different groups in the months and years to come. The challenge was launched last year.

New Court Documents on NFL Brafile3091346979128in Injuries

Even after the NFL settlement related to concussions and traumatic brain injuries last summer, many former players are still not satisfied.  A current lawsuit accuses the NFL of “hiding information that linked concussions to brain injuries,” according to a recent story from ABC News.  In response to those accusations, the NFL filed documents suggesting that “NFL players are likely to suffer chronic brain injury at a significantly higher rate than the general population,” and “show neurocognitive impairment at a much younger age.”

What kinds of long-term symptoms do tackle football players experience?  According to the article, the following statistics concern rates for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia:

Traumatic Brain Injuries and California Sports

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Brain injuries and American football have, unfortunately, seemed to go hand in hand in recent years.  Despite the popularity of contact sports, commentators have suggested that contact sports may have to be scaled back in the coming years due to the high risk of serious head trauma.  Research suggests that even a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) like a concussion can have life-threatening consequences.  Indeed, a number of professional football players have been diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a dangerous degenerative brain condition caused by multiple concussions, while a number of high school athletes have sustained severe brain injuries on the field.

What’s California doing to prevent serious head injuries?  According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a bill that is designed to protect student athletes from serious TBIs.  Specifically, it “prohibits football teams at middle and high schools from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes a day,” while it also “limits the number of full-contact practices during the season to two per week.”  In addition, it prohibits coaches from holding any contact practices at any point during the off-season.

Are certain athletes at greater risk of a debilitating brain injury than others?  According to an article in Women’s Health, female and younger athletes may “take longer to recover from concussions.”  The article cited a new study conducted by researchers in Michigan State University’s Department of Kinesiology.  How can this information help victims of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)?  In short, the findings suggest that treatment options should be different based on the age and sex of the victim, and physicians should take these factors into account when treating patients with head trauma.

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Age and Sex Impact Recovery: Details of the Study

According to Tracey Covassin, the lead researcher on the study, “females performed worse than males on visual memory tests” after sustaining a TBI, and females also “reported more symptoms postconcussion.”  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that concussions are a form of mild traumatic brain injury, and they’re typically characterized by a “bump, blow, or jolt to the head.”  Typically, concussions aren’t life-threatening injuries, but they can have serious and debilitating effects nonetheless.

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