Concussions in football
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) also known as a concussion is a serious health problem to athletes, especially to football players. The brain controls the body and gives a person personality and defines every aspect of his or her life. A brain injury can disrupt a person’s life in an instance and like broken bones or bruises; TBI can limit or prevent normal body functions. A brain injury, unlike common injuries can damage mental abilities to include memory and speech. There are only two classifications in TBI; mild and severe. Mild TBI is classified as loss of consciousness and or confusion and disorientation for less than thirty minutes. Severe TBI is thirty or more minutes and with memory loss. A person classified with severe TBI has limited functions of legs and arms, abnormal speech and emotional problems. When a person experiences a brain injury they often do not realize that one has occurred. TBI often leads to Alzheimer or Parkinson’s or Lou Gehrig’s diseases, and other forms of dementia and brain tumors. No two brains are alike and no two brains injuries are the same makes treatment and recovery a complex and challenging task. In football players, TBI is a serious concern because players do not know or don’t let somebody know about the injury and continually play in fear of losing a spot on the team roster. No player wants to let down the team. Football players only want the respect of other players and get the win at the end of the day. The effects of the injury compounds and clouds their judgment and growth until it is too late to correct problems.
Some people say football has become an obsession. Fans gather together in support and celebrate their teams. They dress up in their teams colors and some even dress up in crazy costumes to show their loyalty not just to their team but to the sport. The sport is a multi-billion dollar business, motivated by aggressive competition by football players and people craving to see the delivery of devastating blows. Football players have gotten bigger, stronger and faster; this has increased the popularity of the sport and ultimately to more severe TBI’s.
Mild TBI is also known as a minor head trauma or minor head injury. It is defined as the result of the forceful motion of the head or impact causing confusion, disorientation or loss of memory and loss of consciousness for less than thirty minutes. Fifteen percent of people with mild TBI have symptoms that last one year or more. Common symptoms of mild TBI are fatigue, headaches, visual disturbances, memory loss, poor attention and concentration, sleep disturbances, dizziness and loss of balance, irritability, feelings of depression and seizures. Other symptoms associated with mild TBI are nausea, loss of smell, slowness in thinking, and sensitivity to light and sounds. The symptoms of mild TBI may not be present or noticed at the time of injury, but may take days or weeks before they appear. Athletes move and look normal; but family members and friends will notice a change in behavior before the athlete realizes there is a problem. Frustration with relationships and the lack of concentration and ability to perform at work may bring the athlete to seek medical attention.
Severe TBI results in permanent damage to the brain that can produce lifelong effects and even death. Severe brain injuries are measured by the Glasgow coma scale. The Glasgow coma scale is based on a fifteen point scale in estimating and categorizing brain injuries based on the overall social capability of the dependence on others. The scale is measured in three categories; motor response, verbal response and eye opening response. The values help medical doctors determine the level for survival, with a lower score indicating a more severe injury and poorer prognosis. Some of the points and grading are listed below: I. Motor Response:
• 6 - Obeys commands fully
• 5 – Localizes to...
Cited: Neurologic clinics: Concussion in the national football league: an overview for neurologists. Carson IR, 2008
Science Magazine: THE BATTERED BRAIN. Vol. 322 3 October 2008
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