Understanding the Effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

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Over the last year the seriousness of traumatic brain injury in football players has made national headlines. Now that conversation is expanding to include student athletes and how TBIs and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) might be linked to depression and suicide. CTE is a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to multiple head traumas.

Traumatic Brain Injury Studies

Research has shown a link between traumatic brain injury and suicide in young people. A Canadian study released earlier this year concluded teenagers who had suffered a TBI at some point in their lives were 3 times more likely to attempt suicide than the general teen population.

In a survey of nine high school sports concussions accounted for only 9% of sports-related injuries, but the injuries are not insubstantial. During the 2008-2009 school year there were an estimated 400,000 concussions in U.S. high school athletes. And even if immediate consequences are not obvious, effects can emerge years later. Research has shown that even decades after the initial injury, concussions can cause lapses in memory and abnormal brain wave activity.

More Research Needed

While a lot of research is being done now, much more is needed in order to get a better understanding of long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries. “The real answer is that we don’t know. These are very difficult questions,” said Dr. Stefan Duma, a professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech. “The basic question is: How much [impact] is too much?”

More Education and Awareness

While the research is being done, there needs to be more education about the impact and effects of traumatic brain injuries. The awareness of the long-lasting effects of these injuries needs to be increased amongst players, their parents, and their coaches. This is especially true when you consider the pressure a player feels to “get back out there” after an injury. “Our study found that some athletes did not reveal symptoms because they were afraid it would affect their standing with the team,” said J. Scott Delaney, a sports medicine specialist and research director.

If you’ve suffered from a traumatic brain injury, you need the expert advice of attorneys such as those at Personal Injury Attorneys PLLC.

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