As we enter the Golden Age of neuroscience, the public is slowly becoming aware that seemingly minor head injuries can cause serious, long-term damage to the brains of young people playing football and other contact sports.
When an athlete strikes his or her head hard enough to cause a concussion, it leaves contusions (bruises) on the brain. This can produce immediate physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms such as headache, nausea, balance problems, emotional imbalance, short-term memory loss, sleep disturbances and irritability. Repeated head injuries can cause serious long-term cognitive and emotional changes and brain disorders such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Unfortunately, knowledge of these hazards has not been shared with the public until recently. Sports leagues like the NFL and the NCAA have minimized or denied the risks rather than working to change the rules of the game to protect athletes. Helmets which have been marketed as protecting young athletes have only increased the dangers of traumatic brain injury.
Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman is extremely concerned with protecting the brains of our young athletes, and ensuring justice and accountability for those who have been injured. If you or a loved one has suffered from cognitive impairment which you believe to have been caused by sports-related concussions, please call our office for a free consultation.
Sports competition is one of the mainstays of our society. Sports have the potential to improve health, bring communities together, teach teamwork, and incite a special exhilaration that moves us deeply and emotionally. Athletes are pillars of strength in our community, showing us what is possible as human beings if we strive together to achieve a goal.
The Big Problem
Everyone knows that athletes can be at risk for physical injuries. However, the public is slowly becoming aware that there are other, hidden dangers which face our athletes.
Over the past decade or so, a new awareness of athlete brain health is emerging due to controversy in the National Football League. It turns out former professional football players’ brains have been at great risk since the game’s origins in the late 1800s without their knowledge, and it is not just football players who are at risk for undiagnosed concussions in sports. Studies done on soccer, basketball, judo, lacrosse, cheerleading, and other sports show there are incidents of concussions across the board.
During the complicated process of recovery from a concussion, everyone on the “team” (including coaches, teachers, medical support, friends and family) must be aware of the best possible outcome as well as the worst. Not all recoveries will heal within the average 2-3 weeks. Additionally, unlike a broken ankle, for example, a brain injury is not physically obvious. Signs such as personality changes (including depression and irritability) may indicate the need for medical attention.
The issue demands serious consideration in a society where millions of children participate in sports every year.