In the wake of the suicide of Ohio State University football player, Kosta Karageorge, who sustained debilitating concussions during his time as a player, more questions have been raised regarding the link between TBI and depression. A coroner ordered a special exam of Karageorge to look for any signs of traumatic brain injury. The autopsy might shed some light on what happened to the defensive lineman, as well as other players who sustain football injuries.
###Traumatic Brain Injury Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as a head injury that results from blunt or penetrating trauma often sustained during sports competitions such as football games or boxing. They are also commonly found in soldiers who are exposed to explosives. There has been a growing amount of research that concludes that repeated concussions (often referred to as “mild” TBIs, although they are far from “mild”), can cause permanent brain damage.
Signs of TBI include: confusion and amnesia, headaches, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating. Epilepsy, vertigo, changes in personality, Parkinson’s disease, as well as dementia have been linked to repeat concussions found in boxers and football players. Additionally, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease that has been tied to repeated hits to the brain. Symptoms of CTE range from dementia to altered behavior, ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. Sufferers of CTE have difficulty maintaing relationships and can often spiral into depression and/or substance abuse.
According to UCLA’s Brain Injury Research Center, TBI is difficult to treat because of the large variety found in injury patterns and the complexity of the brain. The Center often treats it through identifying and removing severely damaged brain tissues.
The brain can take days or weeks to heal. And while people who have sustained concussions can fully recover, the key to healing is rest, and avoiding suffering a second concussion.