Fall is coming and for a large part of the country, that can mean one thing—local high school and college football! Every year, thousands of young men put on the pads and helmets and step out onto the gridiron to compete. Unfortunately, there are also some serious consequences for these young athletes. For instance, every year there are about 300,000 sport-related concussions suffered by athletes. And that is just for those in high school, not college or professional football players! So for those concerned students and their parents who are thinking about high school football and worrying about the lasting ramifications, here are some things that you need to know about the sport and concussions.
What is a Concussion?
A concussion, also referred to as a mild traumatic brain injury, can result from several different types of incidents, most notably sports injuries and automobile accidents. It is most commonly referred to as a physical strike to the head that causes the brain to hit the inner wall of the skull, causing a disruption to the brain and how it functions. Many with concussions may describe it as feeling like they have “had their bell rung” and they may suffer from difficulty thinking clearly or remembering things or events.
What does this have to do with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)?
This is a brain disease that afflicts military vets and athletes who have had repeated brain trauma such as concussions. Over time, multiple traumas cause a protein (Tau) to cluster and clump in the brain. As this happens, the healthy brain cells die and the patient begins to suffer from decreased mental capacity. CTE can also greatly affect a person’s mood and violent mood swings, from depression to aggression, can be attributed to this affliction.
How should a concussion be treated?
One of the main methods for treating a concussion is with time. By stepping away from the activity that caused the concussion, the patient has a better chance of recovering. This usually involves rest for several days and a close supervision to ensure that the patient is not dizzy, disoriented, or nauseous. It is also important that the concussion is properly diagnosed as soon as possible. In sports, this would be done by an experienced athletic trainer with special preparation in dealing with concussions. Unfortunately, only about 1/3 of all high schools actually employ such a trainer. That means the diagnosis will possibly be left up to an emergency room doctor who may not know all of the causes of the trauma and who may not be able to follow-up with the patient in the long-term as he or she recovers.
The problems of concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) have become more and more well known in recent years. Following the groundbreaking lawsuit filed against the NFL, there has been more and more emphasis placed on stopping this problem and helping younger people avoid the long-term damage. Parents should be aware of this before making the decision to let their children play a contact sport that could result in concussions.
If you feel that you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed or could have a medical malpractice case, contact the Law Offices of Wolf & Pravato today!
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