This guest post is from the Joye Law Firm.
We often hear the phrase: “the world is a dangerous place.” The planet is not only filled with emotional problems and mental stressors, but many physical hazards as well. While there are a number of dangers faced by individuals living in the world today, the development of traumatic brain injuries can be amongst the most severe and life altering. In addition to their extreme severity, brain injuries are considered by most experts to be relatively common—in fact, thousands of individuals will sustain a brain injury each year. The causes of brain injuries are as varied as their levels of severity but often include car and other vehicle accidents, slips and falls, and sports-related injuries.
While a significant amount of attention has been given to brain injuries in professional sports over the past few years brain injury is dangerously common amongst all levels of sports. A recent study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic has brought attention to the alarming level of brain injuries suffered by college football players at American universities. For the study researchers took blood samples and brain scans of 67 college football players before games during the 2011 season. The same samples and data were then collected from these players later in the season after participating in a number of games.
The results of the study indicated that of the 67 players participating in the study 40 showed signs of traumatic brain injury based on the various biomarkers that the researchers collected. Further review of video footage of the games that these players participated in showed that these same 40 players had experienced more and harder hits during the season then the players who did not show signs of brain injury, suggesting a direct correlation. More frightening was the fact that even after experiencing these game-time blows, many players continued participating in the game. This is common practice and players are rarely deemed unfit to play unless suffering an obvious injury such as a serious sprain, broken bone, or concussion.
While a player will be removed from the game if he shows signs of a concussion, hits that do not cause concussions, especially those that are experienced repeatedly, are equally damaging, if not more so, due to their accumulative effects. According to Damir Janigro, Ph.D. who was one of the researchers who worked on the study: “Much attention is being paid to concussions among football players and the big hits that cause them, but this research shows that more common, ‘sub-concussive’ hits appear to cause damage too.”
While athletic-related TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) are a major concern, they make up only a fraction of the different causes of TBIs. Fortunately there are options for those who have been diagnosed with brain injuries, and while preventative measures are certainly the best remedy, medications, surgery, and different types of rehabilitation are all current options for individuals who have suffered a traumatic brain injury. If you are currently participating in full-contact sports at any level and you have experienced numerous hits, regardless of whether you sustained a concussion, please contact your physician to assess your situation and prevent any further damage.