Brain Injury: Recognizing A Hidden Disability Part 2
The Effects of Concussions:
The physical effects of a concussion are more traumatic when a person suffers from repeated concussions, this can be common in many contact sports like football, hockey, and boxing. New studies have linked repeated concussions to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), it is a degenerative brain disease. Some effects of CTE are memory loss, declining cognitive abilities and CTE usually presents itself as depression and moodiness. This condition can lead to suicide and dementia.
In February of 2011 Dave Duerson who was a former NFL safety and was a two-time Super Bowl champion who played for the Chicago Bears, took his own life; he feared that he was suffering from CTE. His family members reported that before he died he left messages asking that his brain be donated to the NFL Brain Bank. The NFL Brain Bank is a special research arm at Boston University’s Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy; it specifically examines the brains of these professional athletes.
One of the top causes of traumatic brain injury in people ages 15 to 24 is sports, second only to motor vehicle accidents. Every year there are around 3.8 million American athletes that receive a sports-related concussion. Also there is a new focus on helmets; a lot of medical authorities and other experts argue that helmets give players a false sense of security which then leads to more aggressive play and more risk taking, and that results in more concussions. Helmets do not protect players from the type of violent movement that causes concussions and that is the movement of the brain inside the skull.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the ConTACT Act (Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act of 2010), which amends Title II of the Public Health Service Act to provide for the establishment and execution of concussion management guidelines with aimed at school-aged children. This bill never made it before the Senate and therefore did not become a law. There is a new act the Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Safety Act; this act would establish tougher penalties for manufacturers that make false or misleading injury prevention claims about their helmets and other athletic equipment. New Mexico Sen. Tom Udall and New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell and organizations like the NFL Players Association already endorse this act.